The Nets‘ high-profile acquisition of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Celtics prior to the 2013/14 season never worked out as planned for Brooklyn, and the team is trying to move on and rebuild as best it can despite dealing away multiple future draft picks for the two aging veterans, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald writes. “We all made the decision to go for it,” GM Billy King said. “We made a decision, and at that point we felt it was the best decision. And now we’re headed in a different direction. I don’t think you can sit there and say, ‘What if?’ You make a decision and you move on. That’s how we did it. You make the decision, and then you adjust and you move on as you have to.”
“If we hadn’t had injuries, could we have won more? Possibly,” King continued. “And then the picks [that went to the Celtics] . . . you know, I look at it like, there’s nothing that can be done about them. So now we’re focusing on trying to gain younger assets, as we did this year. And we’ll keep doing that. It’s something similar to what I did in Philadelphia, where we gave up a lot of picks early to get to The Finals. Then after that we started retooling and drafting second-round picks like Kyle Korver. You’ve just got to take what you have and work with it.”
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Nets power forward Willie Reed has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb and he’ll undergo surgery on Friday, the team announced. A timetable for his return will be established following the procedure, according to the release. Reed is one of seven Brooklyn players without a fully guaranteed deal, but the Nets would have to pay him until he’s healthy, even if they waive him.
- The Sixers don’t expect rookie center Jahlil Okafor to be at full strength when the regular season begins, and they intend to take it slow with his minutes as he works his way back into shape from being sidelined with a sore right knee, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He’s been tremendously set back now,” coach Brett Brown said. “He was going to be fine, going through [training camp at] Stockton [University].” When asked about Okafor’s ideal playing weight, Brown responded by saying, “There are a few goals that we have. But like a little bit with Joel [Embiid], we will probably keep them in house. Fair question, but keep them in house.“
- Rookie shooting guard R.J. Hunter has impressed the Celtics‘ coaching staff with his all-around game, and he is the likeliest of Boston’s three rookies to see significant playing time this season, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com relays. “I think it’s pretty obvious, just watching him, he really has a feel,” coach Brad Stevens said of Hunter. “It just comes pretty natural — little passes, simple plays, being able to put the ball on the money to other people, understanding spacing, understanding where his opportunities are going to come. And he’s got a pretty good feel for the game.“