What it means: The Nets, who are in win-now mode, will get Thornton, a streaky, spark-plug type reserve guard who can score in bunches. The 26-year-old is having a down season, averaging just 8.3 points on 38.1 percent shooting for the Kings.
But Thornton has averaged 21.3 points and 18.7 points in back-to-back seasons (2010-11, 2011-12) for Sacramento, so he’s certainly capable on the offensive end. It’s the defensive end where he’s struggled.
Here’s what Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote about Thornton on Tuesday:
It just hasn’t happened for Thornton, whose contract is now one of the very worst in the league. His shooting has been a disaster this season, and he has never improved as a defender. He still gets lost away from the ball, and he’s always spacing out or ball-watching as his man cuts behind him. He has never shown any organized commitment to team defense or help schemes. He’s just not a useful NBA player right now.
Adds Bill Simmons, who ranked Thornton’s contract 11th-worst in the NBA:
The Kings paid him to be a Heat Check Guy since he doesn’t pass or play defense. Well, he’s literally a Heat Check Guy -- you keep checking to see if the heat is on. Take away his 42-point explosion against Indiana, and he’s averaging less than 16 points per 48 minutes this season. FREEZER CHECK! How do we know his contract is awful? Reportedly, the Nets are trying to trade for Thornton right now. That’s like the Awful Contract Stamp of Approval. Gee, I wonder who signed Thornton to that dumb deal. (Picture of a Maloof brother)
Of course, veterans Terry (36.2 percent shooting) and Evans (out of the rotation) weren’t really useful for the Nets either.
Salary implications: Thornton is due $8.165 million this season and $8.697 million next season. Terry is due $5.225 million this season and 5.45 million next season. Evans is due $1.695 million this season and $1.768 million next season. Lowe did the math: Brooklyn would add $729,000 in salary, which would cost it an additional $2.73 million in tax payments.
No surprise here, but owner Mikhail Prokhorov continues to spare no expense in his effort to win a championship.
Lowe also notes: Word is the Nets are willing to add more salary atop the Thornton deal. It doesn’t appear to preclude their bringing in Jordan Hill with their $5.25 million disabled player exception.
Adding Hill’s $3.5 million deal would cost the Nets in the neighborhood of $17 million with added luxury tax penalties, bringing their total payroll well north of the $200 million mark.
Too bad: Terry had visions of winning a title in Brooklyn.
Some of his old quotes: "There's something in the air here that says the Brooklyn #Nets will be champions next year." -- Jason Terry 7/18/13
"I'm saying Deron Williams for MVP, with the pieces we have here." -- Jason Terry 7/18/13 #Nets