Before new Nets center Kevin Garnett waived his no trade clause so the deal sending him, and teammates Jason Terry and Paul Pierce, to Brooklyn, he had one more stipulation: the Nets couldn’t include workhorse rebounder Reggie Evans in the deal. The appreciation is mutual it appears as Evans and Garnett both shared with Newsday‘s Roderick Boone recently.
Garnett famously waived the no trade clause in his contract with the Celtics after Pierce, Nets PG Deron Williams and coach Jason Kidd talked him into it. But he had one last caveat to add before the deal was done, as he told Boone earlier this week:
“I won’t go into specific details of what I was wanting and dislikes and everything else when it came to building the business of basketball,” Garnett said before the Nets beat the 76ers, 127-97, in Monday night’s preseason game at Wachovia Center. “But I will say this: One of the key things for me was not only Paul and ‘Jet’ coming here with me to make it comfortable, but Reggie Evans had to be on the roster. That was a huge key for me coming here.”
“I wanted to play with another workhorse,” Garnett said, “a person I admired, thought gave a lot to the game when it came to just being a dog and worked hard. I’ve been a superfan of his for a long time and I will concur and actually say that he’s a big part of why I came here.”
Evans, for his part, has nothing by respect for the Hall-of-Fame bound Garnett:
“He kind of told me a little bit like, yeah, I was one of the reasons of him coming back,” Evans told Newsday. “I thought that was even more motivation because someone of that caliber wants to play with me. That shows I’ve got a lot of respect . . . If I was in a position of a lot of power from a player’s perspective, I’d be wanting to play with him too.”
Evans explanation was easy to understand. The veteran Garnett is real, and Evans respects him as a player and a person.
“You’ve got a lot of guys that’s just groupies instead of respecting a person for who they are,” Evans said. “So I like real people, and he’s a real person. He’s one hundred. He’s a real person and I like that. He’s just being himself. Where he’s more vocal, I’m vocal, but not as vocal as him. His antenna is always going. Always, always, always. But I love it, though. I’m ready to ride this wave. I’m ready to go hard and hopefully get him a No. 2 ring and get my first one.”
“Me and KG, we’re just clicking,” Evans said. “We are just taking advantage of this moment, and taking advantage of it is winning a championship. Sometimes you’ve got to do the little stuff, always talking to each other, communicating with each other and stuff like that. Everything is a process and we are slowly getting to know each other on the court and off the court. Dapping each other up, all that stuff is coming natural. Ain’t nothing fake about it. It’s all just natural, which is good.”
Evans went even further, extolling the virtues of KG in a sit-down with the YES network:
Together, Evans and Garnett will form part of the foundation for the Nets on the low block, with Garnett trickling out for that mid-range jumper, and Evans rushing the boards like he’s done in the eleven seasons prior. It’s a good pairing, so we have to applaud Garnett for speaking up to keep Evans in a Nets uniform. It’s not hard to guess a grinder like Evans would earn the respect of Garnett, and it’s obvious Reggie loves working alongside KG. We’re hoping they get featured on a lunch pail together in Brooklyn because there aren’t many blue collar workers like them left in the league. Maybe Reggie can help KG avoid those moving screens, he’s so famous for.
They are the new grind crew in the East this season, and with Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche, they form like Voltron to feature one of the most talented front-courts in the entire league, able to go two-deep at both power forward and center.
What do you think?
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