Brooklyn to acquire veteran point guard in three-team swap
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Decision II has paved the way for the Nets to finally get the veteran point guard they’ve coveted since the middle of last season.
According to numerous print and web reports, including those on ESPN and Yahoo! Sports, the Nets are in the midst of completing a three-team deal that would send shooting guard Marcus Thornton to Boston in exchange for Cleveland’s Jarrett Jack.
The Cavaliers, apparently clearing salary-cap space in a desperate bid to re-acquire free agent superstar LeBron James, will also send second-year shooting guard Sergey Karasev to Brooklyn.
Jack, whom the Nets reportedly tried to acquire last season before getting Thornton from Sacramento, can’t officially join the team until 12:01 a.m. Thursday, when the league-wide moratorium on trades and free-agent signings is lifted.
The nine-year veteran, who starred on Georgia Tech’s 2004 NCAA Final Four team, was selected 22nd overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2005 NBA Draft. He has also played for Indiana, Toronto, New Orleans and Golden State, averaging 10.9 points and 4.3 assists per game.
Nets general manager Billy King admitted upon entering this turbulent offseason that re-signing point guard Shaun Livingston was his No. 1 priority.
But Livingston inked a three-year deal, $16 million contract with Golden State – approximately $6 million more than the Nets could have offered -- leaving King without a capable backup or starting back-court mate for $98 million point guard Deron Williams, who is recovering from surgery on both of his ankles.
With new head coach Lionel Hollins in place following the unforeseen defection of Jason Kidd, King went right to work on filling the hole left by Livingston.
But the deal may never have come to fruition if the Cavs weren’t dreaming of returning native son James back to the franchise he led to the 2007 NBA Finals.
The Akron, Ohio native and four-time NBA MVP went from hero to scourge in Cleveland after opting to, “take his talents to South Beach,” during the infamous nationally televised “The Decision” special during the summer of 2010.
James went on to win four consecutive Eastern Conference titles and two NBA championships with the Miami Heat, but is now a free agent again and mulling his options.
The Cavs’ need for freed-up money to offer James made Jack available to the Nets, who have not yet indicated whether they will employ the same small lineup Kidd employed to close the 2013-14 campaign.
Williams and Livingston, both point men, started in the backcourt in that alignment while shooting guard Joe Johnson played in the small forward’s slot. The “Small Ball” set-up helped Brooklyn post a 34-19 mark following a horrendous 10-21 start to the season.
Hollins did not tip his hand as to how he would use his starting five, especially with All-Star center Brook Lopez expected to be back in the lineup after missing all but 17 games last year due to recurring foot issues.
Regardless, Jack provides a more-than-capable back-up plan for Williams, who has yet to rediscover his All-Star form from Utah as a Net.
King is still in the process of trying to re-sign free agent forward Paul Pierce, who helped the Nets get past Toronto in the opening round of the playoffs with a blocked shot of Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry just prior to the final buzzer of the thrilling seven-game series.
James and the Heat eliminated the Nets in five games in the ensuing Eastern Conference semifinals, but were handed a sound five-game thumping by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals, opening the debate as to whether James would opt out of his contract and listen to other suitors.
He did just that, and for the second time in five years, the undisputed King of professional basketball has the NBA offseason rumor-mill swirling with fantastic scenarios.
Fortunately for the Nets, The King’s potential move back to the Midwest provided Billy King with just the right amount of leverage to bring Jack to Brooklyn.
Nothing But Net: The Nets are also reportedly on the brink of announcing the signing of F Bogdan Bogdanavic, who has spent the past several seasons playing in Turkey, to their mini mid-level exception. … The Cavs selected Karasev just three slots ahead, 19th overall, of Brooklyn All-Rookie C Mason Plumlee, denying the Nets a shot at him in last year's NBA Draft. … G Markel Brown, one of three second-round draft picks King acquired last month, has been flying high and gaining notice during the Nets’ Summer League slate in Orlando, Fla., this week. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Oklahoma State product showed of his solid shooting skills and acumen for rising to the rim during his first three pro exhibitions. “I feel like I was overlooked,’’ Brown told the Nets’ website of his second-round draft-day status. “I feel like I should have been in the first round, but stuff happens, and I couldn't be any more happy than where I landed. I feel like I'm in a perfect situation. I feel like I'm in a position where I can actually get on the court, so I'm going to make the best of it.’’ Brown, Plumlee and the rest of the Nets’ Summer League squad were slated to take on Philadelphia Wednesday evening at 5 p.m.