Brooklyn Nets to begin training camp at Duke
Special to The Chronicle
Brooklyn will hold five days of practice at Duke between Tuesday and Saturday. One of the busier teams during the NBA offseason, the Nets made a splash this summer by acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from the Boston Celtics in a blockbuster trade. Brooklyn hopes to combine the former Boston triumvirate with last year's nucleus of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez to form one of the more dangerous offensive teams in the Eastern Conference.
Garnett, Pierce and Terry were not the team's only acquisitions this summer. The Nets spent their first-round draft selection on former Blue Devil Mason Plumlee, who averaged 17.1 points and 10.0 rebounds during his senior season with the Blue Devils. The 22nd overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft had a successful run with Brooklyn in the Orlando Summer League and will begin his first NBA training camp at his alma mater.
Plumlee is not the Nets only connection to the Duke program. General Manager Billy King spent four years playing for head coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils before going on to a career as an executive with the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. King was a member of two Final Four teams in 1986 and 1988. He was the captain of the 1988 squad and was named National Defensive Player of the Year, averaging 1.5 steals per game as a senior.
Jason Kidd, the Nets' first-year head coach, spent three years playing for Krzyzewski as a member of USA Basketball, earning a gold medal in the 2008 Olympic Games. Kidd's star point guard, Deron Williams, was also a member of that 2008 team and won his second gold medal playing for the Duke head coach in 2012.
Guard Shaun Livingston, who signed with Brooklyn as a free agent in the offseason, committed to play at Duke before he elected to enter the 2004 NBA draft straight out of high school. Livingston was the fourth overall selection by the Los Angeles Clippers and has since become an NBA journeyman. The Nets will be Livingston's eighth NBA team.