Kevin Garnett finds kindred spirit in Nets' Reggie Evans
PHILADELPHIA - The list is secretive, protected like a pit bull by Kevin Garnett.
If the veteran power forward was going to waive his no-trade clause and leave Boston for an unknown situation in Brooklyn, he had a few requests he hoped to get checked off first.
Have Paul Pierce tag along? Check. Bring Jason Terry on board, too? Check. Keep Reggie Evans? Check.
"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."
That explains the change in personnel the Nets sent to the Celtics in their blockbuster deal. When the trade initially was consummated, Evans was reported to be a part of the package along with Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries.
Don't think Evans, the burly rebounding machine, isn't thankful that he is still in Brooklyn. He never really wanted to go anywhere else, and there's nothing like having a future Hall of Famer requesting your services.
"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.''
In two-plus weeks together, Garnett and Evans have built a nice rapport, forging some newfound chemistry. They're constantly slapping hands and offering encouragement as they go over defensive strategies and some of the game's finer points.
They're still waiting to actually be on the floor together during a game, but coach Jason Kidd said it's a combination he eventually wants to see. That, of course, would suit Garnett and Evans just fine.
"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 said he can easily detect those who aren't genuine. Garnett, in his estimation, doesn't fall into that category. In fact, he sees some of himself in Garnett, which he believes is fueling their blossoming relationship.
"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."
As Garnett has said several times, that's the only reason he's here. Well, other than to hoop it up with Evans, of course.
"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."
Notes & quotes: Garnett will not play Tuesday night against the Celtics in a preseason game at Barclays Center. Pierce is scheduled to play.