Jason Terry gives the Nets' bench a big boost
Don't expect to see Jason Terry at a Brooklyn-area tattoo parlor just yet.
"I'm going to let the championship happen first, then I'm going to get the tattoo," Terry said Thursday while being introduced to the media with his Nets teammates and fellow former Celtics, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, at the Barclays Center.
Getting a motivational tattoo of the Larry O'Brien trophy, which is awarded to the NBA champion each year, has become something of a tradition for Terry.
Prior to the 2010-2011 season when he was with Dallas, he had the trophy tattooed on his right bicep. The Mavericks, who weren't exactly favored, conveniently went on to win the championship.
Terry wasn't as fortunate in Boston last season after he got a tattoo on his left arm of the famed Celtics' leprechaun with the trophy. The Celtics were gone in the first round. The tattoo, well, that was a little more permanent.
Maybe he learned his lesson. So, a Nets-related tattoo -- perhaps of the trophy sitting on the Brooklyn Bridge? -- will have to wait for now.
Terry, a 14-year veteran who won the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2009, will look to provide a veteran presence and offensive spark off the Nets' bench at shooting guard.
Last season, his first in a three-year, $15-million deal with the Celtics, he averaged 10.1 points per game, the lowest since his rookie year. But with no shortage of options on the Nets this season, spacing may be a bigger issue than scoring. Terry's ability to shoot from the outside should help stretch the floor and create space for teammates.
"I will be the leader of that bench," Terry said. "I'll make sure we are hitting on all cylinders . . . Your starting five is a beast, whoever [coach Jason Kidd] decides to start is going to be a problem. But your bench is going to have to win games for you on certain nights. You're only as strong as your 13th guy."
That bench grew one seat deeper with the recent addition of versatile forward Andrei Kirilenko, who didn't attend the news conference Thursday because of personal obligations overseas. The 32-year-old Russian signed a two-year deal with the Nets for the taxpayers' mini-midlevel exception of $3.18 million, with a player option in the second year.
It was considered a bargain signing for Brooklyn after Kirilenko, long rumored to be an object of desire for the Nets' Russian owner Mikhail Prokorov, opted out of the final year of his deal with the Timberwolves that would have paid him $10 million next season.
The 6-9 Kirilenko averaged 12.4 points and 5.7 rebounds for Minnesota last season after playing for CSKA Moscow of the Euroleague during the lockout-shortened season. He will be an upgrade over Paul Pierce on the defensive end, where he is capable of guarding the star-studded forwards of the Atlantic Division, namely LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
The Nets bench, questioned by some after the blockbuster trade with the Celtics, now seems solidified with newcomers Kirilenko, Terry and Shaun Livingston joining returnees Andray Blatche, Reggie Evans and Mirza Teletovic.
"I don't think that's a question anymore," Kidd said of his team's depth. "There are a lot of different combinations, a lot of things you can do if guys don't play that night."
It will be up to the first-year coach to establish a rotation and also manage the minutes of veterans like Garnett and Pierce to better ensure their health for the postseason.
"I think it's a great challenge," said Kidd, who himself was under a minutes restriction at times last season while playing for the Knicks. "I'm looking at it as a positive because I was just in the same seat as those guys when you talk about being older and, minutes wise, being able to keep their minutes down."
Terry, who was teammates with Kidd in Dallas, thinks that his new coach is up for the challenge.
"Playing with Jason, I know he's going to do an outstanding job as a coach because he was already coaching his entire life as a point guard," Terry said. "I know we're going to be going in the right direction from Day 1."
As for Terry's lack of fresh ink, it doesn't reflect a lack of confidence in his new team.
"I feel very strongly about this team," he said. "You gotta love it when you have a great mix of youth, athleticism and age. That's what wins championships."
And leads to new tattoos.