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Billy King won't talk about potential trades; Nets defeat Lakers in Thaddeus Young's debut

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez, left, passes the

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez, left, passes the ball under pressure from Los Angeles Lakers guard Wayne Ellington, center, and center Robert Sacre during the first half of an NBA game, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, in Los Angeles. Credit: AP / Mark J. Terrill

LOS ANGELES - Billy King, unwilling to offer insight on any of the other deals he hoped to pull off, wasn't about to divulge any intimate details of how things went down in the hours leading up to Thursday's trade deadline.

If the Nets were close to making a move other than sending Kevin Garnett to Minnesota for Thaddeus Young, King wasn't telling. No official clarity on whether Brook Lopez nearly was dealt to Oklahoma City for Reggie Jackson. Or about Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson possibly being on the block and blowing through the trade winds.

"I'm not going to get into all the rumors of potential deals that we possibly could have done yesterday," King said before the Nets beat the Lakers, 114-105, at Staples Center Friday night in Young's debut and their first game back after a nine-day All-Star break. "We were looking, we were exploring, and if there were deals we felt were going to make us better, we were going to do them.

"We were content if this was the only deal. We were prepared for this to be the only deal. But overall, I feel that we are still competitive, still have a chance to win into the playoffs. Some of the teams around us did get better. But on paper, we've still got to play the games, and we've got 30 to play. We'll find out can we get in there. But I do believe with this group, with adding Thaddeus, we got better."

Garnett's departure signaled a rapid end to the 20-month semi-era he shared with Paul Pierce as members of the Nets. They arrived in a highly celebrated trade, with King sending three first-round picks along with Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans to the Celtics, figuring that move would elevate them into the Eastern Conference's upper crust.

Lots of championship chatter was produced, but the Nets never came close. They lost to the Heat in the second round of the playoffs and elected not to re-sign Pierce because of the salary-cap implications. King, though, isn't ready to call the trade a failure.

"I think it helped give us a little bit of an identity," he said. "I think their leadership and what they are able to bring to our guys, teaching to our guys, I think other guys are better for it. Did we get to our goal of winning a championship? No. But I think we were able to go further than we had gone."

Young, 28, has a $9.9-million player option for next season and King insisted the Nets will do their best to keep him in Brooklyn. He had eight points and four rebounds in 12:09 off the bench.

Young sure seems to be enjoying the love he's gotten from the Nets. He's liking the notion of sticking around beyond this season and playing under the general manager who originally drafted him with the 76ers and had been trying to pry him away from the Timberwolves for a while.

"It means a lot," Young said. "Any time you have a team that comes after you -- for not just the last few weeks, but it's been talked about for months -- where they basically said they wanted me just to come in and help the team, and be able to do the things I've been doing the last seven, eight years."

Notes & quotes: With Jack unavailable because of a sore left hamstring, Deron Williams started for the first time since injuring his quadriceps Dec. 19 in Cleveland and played as well as he has in some time. He had 12 points and 15 assists. "I just wanted to be aggressive, man," he said. "I stopped being aggressive somewhere along the line this season and I'm trying to get back to being aggressive." Asked why he became passive after his strong start to the season, Williams said: "It don't matter. It's just [that] I'm going to be aggressive now. What happened the first half, this is a new half and I'm ready to go."

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