When the Nets traded for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (as well as Jason Terry) in June of 2013, the Nets talked about how the deal gave the team a two-year "window" for a championship. That window has all but closed and with the departure of Kevin Garnett this week, all three players are gone.
Billy King hasn't talked much about the consequences of the move, with the loss of three unprotected first round picks in 2014 (James Young), 2016 and 2018 and a first round swap in 2017 as well. Friday night before the Lakers game, he spoke about them a bit, both in terms of the value of having two Hall of Famers and the need to get beyond the lost picks.
"I think it helped give us a little bit of an identity," King told reporters. "I think their leadership and what they were able to bring to our guys, I think our guys are better for it. DId get to our goal of winning the championship? No, but I we were able to go further that what we had gone."
He also addressed what the team has to do to replenish the lost picks and noted what the team has done to get younger, touching on the need to keep Thaddeus Young following this season.
"I think this past season, we decided to get a little younger. I think last year, at the end of the year, we were at 29.2 average age. Start of the year, we were 28 and now, we're down at 26.9," he noted.
"So, when you give up those picks we gave up the goal was to start to replenish them. That's when we did the Sergey (Karasev) deal. bring (Bojan) Bogdanovic over, bringing in Thaddeus (Young). I know he has the opt-out, but we're going to do our best to keep him here. The goal is bring in guys to replace those picks, like Cory (Jefferson), Markel (Brown). So that has been a conscious effort, also."
King also seemed to admit that one of the first rounders had been dealt to ship out Gerald Wallace, whose career has nose-dived since he signed a $40 million deal in 2012.
"I think in giving up what we did, it was a combination of moving a contract with one pick, get Paul. So it was a combination. I don't think you look at one player and say 'That's why you give it up.' So, it's more of a combination of things."
King didn't want to talk about the failed attempt to trade for Reggie Jackson.
"I'm not going to get into all the rumors of potential deals that we possibly could have done yesterday," he told reporters. "We were looking, we were exploring, and if there were deals we felt were going to make us better, we were going to do them.
"We were content if this was the only deal. We were prepared for this to be the only deal. But overall, I feel that we are still competitive, still have a chance to win into the playoffs. Some of the teams around us did get better. But on paper, we've still got to play the games, and we've got 30 to play. We'll find out can we get in there. But I do believe with this group, with adding Thaddeus, we got better."
According to multiple reports, if the Nets had acquired Jackson, it likely would have meant a diminished role for Deron Williams. King did predict a big game --and rest of the season-- for D-Will.
“I think Deron is going to have a great second half,” King said. “I think he’s going to play well.
“I think the break probably came at the right time for a lot of our guys. He can go play, there will be less distractions and I think he’ll be fine," he added.
Meanwhile, Young disclosed that he was aware the Nets had been trying to acquire him for months -- and reunite him with the GM who drafted him eight years ago.
"It means a lot," Young said. "Any time you have a team that comes after you -- for not just the last few weeks, but it's been talked about for months -- where they basically said they wanted me just to come in and help the team, and be able to do the things I've been doing the last seven, eight years."
- Billy King won't talk about potential trades, says Nets 'got better' with Thaddeus Young - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets plan on keeping Thaddeus Young - Brooklyn Nets Blog - ESPN New York - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
Nets GM Billy King: Nets needed to get a little Young-er (Video) - The Brooklyn Game