Nets trade Garnett, get Young-er
Future Hall of Famer Sent to Minnesota in Deadline Deal
Kevin Garnett is leaving Brooklyn for his original NBA home.
The future Hall of Fame power forward was traded to Minnesota just prior to Thursday’s trade deadline in exchange for Thaddeus Young, a player with 12 less years of NBA wear and tear on his body.
Garnett, who arrived Downtown with former Celtics teammates Paul Pierce and Jason Terry in Nets general manager Billy King’s blockbuster 2013 Draft Day deal with Boston, is in his 20th NBA season, the first 12 of which were spent starring for the Timberwolves.
Drafted by Minnesota right out of Chicago’s Farragut Academy in 1995, the 38-year-old Garnett is undoubtedly the greatest player in Timberwolves’ history and was named the franchise’s first, and thus far only, NBA MVP winner in 2004.
Garnett, who won the NBA title alongside Pierce in Boston in 2008, was averaging 6.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for the Nets in 42 games this season.
He put up similar numbers across 54 games a season ago, but his locker room demeanor and on-the-floor leadership were instrumental in helping Brooklyn rebound from a 10-21 start to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Young, 26, was originally drafted by Philadelphia in the first round of the 2007 draft by none other than King, who was then serving as the 76ers’ general manager.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward was putting up 14.3 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Timberwolves in 48 contests, and figures to slide right into the starting lineup when the Nets return from the All-Star break Friday night in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
King made it known in the days leading to Thursday’s deadline that he wasn’t interested in making any deals that would hamper Brooklyn’s pursuit of a third straight playoff appearance.
Nor would King sacrifice any of his key players without an eye on securing a better future for the Nets, who are 10 games below .500 despite owning the league’s highest payroll at $90 million.
The Nets enter Friday’s game just one game behind both Miami and Charlotte for the final two postseason spots in the Eastern Conference.
By swapping Garnett, who had to waive his no-trade clause, for Young, King made the Nets potentially better and, perhaps more importantly, younger.
Even more newsworthy were deals that King couldn’t or wouldn’t swing Thursday.
As the deadline approached, the rumor mill was rampant with talk of long-time Nets center Brook Lopez going to Oklahoma City in a deal that would have brought 24-year-old Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson to Brooklyn.
Jackson, however, was eventually dealt to Detroit, which was rumored to be interested in acquiring Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson earlier this week.
Also, Jarrett Jack, who has filled in more than admirably for the struggling Deron Williams as the Nets’ point guard this season, was reported to be heading out of town as well, though no definite destination was made clear.
Moving Jack likely hinged on the Nets acquiring Jackson and receiving assurances that the young playmaker would ink a long-term deal to stay in Brooklyn.
But neither Lopez, nor Johnson, nor Jack moved on the league’s busiest transaction day of the year.
That means head coach Lionel Hollins, who intimated last week that he didn’t expect King to make any major moves, will have basically the same roster, with a much younger power forward, as Brooklyn makes its playoff push over the final 30 games of the regular season.
Brooklyn, which is off to an 0-3 start on its ongoing eight-game road excursion, will also make stops in Denver, New Orleans, Houston and Dallas after visiting the Lakers on Friday.
Young won’t make his Downtown debut until March 1, when the Nets host the league-leading Golden State Warriors at the Barclays Center.
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