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New Nets appeals to backup point guard C.J. Watson

C.J. Watson #7 of the Chicago Bulls drives

C.J. Watson #7 of the Chicago Bulls drives the lane as Evan Turner #12 and Jrue Holiday #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers reach for the ball in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center. (May 10, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

C.J. Watson was asked Tuesday to describe the perception of the Nets last season.

"Easy win," he said with a laugh during his introductory press conference at the Nets practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J.

So what made him sign with Brooklyn despite having more lucrative offers from other teams?

"Just the new arena, new buzz, all the acquisitions they started to get," he said. "It's just a new young team with a new focus, new energy and I'm ready to go."

Perception has changed since the Nets last played on April 26.

The 28-year-old point guard, who averaged 9.7 points and 4.1 assists in 49 games for the Bulls last season, signed a two-year deal for the veteran's minimum, which includes a player option in the second year.

In the 25 games he started in place of the injured Derrick Rose, he increased his numbers to 11.3 points and 4.6 assists. But the Bulls declined their $3.2 million option on Watson, who cleared waivers and became an unrestricted free agent. He opted to sign with the Nets, who are over the salary cap and could offer nothing more than the minimum.

Entering the sixth year of his career after going undrafted, Watson goes from backing up one elite point guard in Rose to another in Deron Williams, who he thinks is the better of the two.

"I always thought Deron was the best point guard in the league," Watson said. "When everyone asks me who is the toughest point guard, I always pick him."

When Joe Johnson joined the Nets earlier this month, he said Brooklyn was the best basketball team in New York. Although his new teammate did say the Nets could finish first or second in the Eastern Conference, he wasn't ready to start a war of words when asked if he has developed a hatred for the Knicks.

"No, not yet," he said. "I like playing against the Knicks. I like playing in the Garden. So not yet. I hear a lot of good and bad stuff about the Knicks, so we'll see."

Nets add Shengelia

The Nets signed 6-10 forward Tornike Shengelia, a second-round pick whose draft rights were acquired from Philadelphia. Terms of the contract were not released. Shengelia, who played in the Belgium League and has been a member of the Republic of Georgia's National Team since 2008, averaged 10.2 points and 3.6 rebounds for the Nets in the summer league.

New York Sports