SAN FRANCISCO -- By Lenn Robbins - If you believe that actions speak louder than words, then today is a proud one to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.
Under owner Mikhail Prokhorov and GM Billy King, the Nets have proven they are committed to bringing an NBA title to Brooklyn.
Team Nets will not allow financial commitment or the concern of public opinion to deter them from that goal. The actions the team has taken this week reinforce that.
On Wednesday the Nets traded for shooting guard Marcus Thornton, giving away two veteran players – Reggie Evans and Jason Terry - that were well-liked and respected in the locker room.
On Thursday King told reporters on a conference call that he’s in the market for a big man and he won’t let cost or public perception deter him.
King confirmed that the Nets have worked out free agent center Jason Collins, 35, who if signed, would be the NBA’s first openly gay player.
The 7-foot Collins, who played for the Nets from 2001-08, hasn’t played this season. King, who didn’t attend the workout, said that Collins was in shape.
“We’re going to bring in a basketball player," said King. "It’s not about marketing or anything like that.
“If we’re bringing in somebody, we’re bringing him in because we feel like he can help our basketball team. It’s not about marketing. We’re beyond doing something for gimmicks."
The Nets improved to 25-27 after Wednesday night’s 105-99 win in Utah over the Jazz, the first game of a six-game West Coast road swing. Even in that victory the Nets were outrebounded, 46-33.
They were outrebounded in the first game of the season. It has been an Achilles heel that could prove fatal in the playoffs.
If Collins, who averaged 3.8 rebounds in 20.8 minutes over his career, can help the Nets on the boards, he’ll be in a Brooklyn uniform. If not, King said the Nets have a list of players they are eyeing.
“We will be looking to add another big,’’ said King. “We’re down a big. We’ve explored that before the deadline to see if we could add a big that way and just couldn’t make a deal we thought was good for us.
“So now we’ll look to add a big either via free agency, Jason [Kidd] and I spoke a little while ago. We have a list of guys that are coming back from China or free agents now or guys that are in the D-League. We’re going to look to add a guy that will help us.’’
King acknowledged the Nets were trying to acquire Jordan Hill from the Lakers but the deal didn’t come to fruition.
He was able to add scoring punch in Thornton by sending Evans and Terry to Sacramento for the 6-4 shooting guard. Thornton recently scored 42 points in a game against the defensive-minded Indiana Pacers by making 16-of-27 field goal attempts, including 7 of 15 from behind the arc.
“I’m not going to put anything on him that he has to get back to that,’’ King said of Thornton, who averaged almost 20 points per game two seasons ago. “I just want to get him in and let him get to know our system. Get to know our players and be successful.
“He’s a proven scorer and we’re going to try to give him the best environment to be successful doing that, what he does best.’’
King said he and Kidd would talk again on Friday to review the options for adding a big man.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver was recently asked why he thought Collins had not been signed since becoming a free agent last July. Collins came out in April.
"We want teams to make the best possible decisions from [a] basketball standpoint," Silver said earlier this month. Ultimately, that's what it's all about.
“I'm sure Jason was never looking for a special favor or a special slot because he had publicly come out."
The Nets aren’t looking to do anyone any favors. They aren’t into gimmicks. They’re looking to win an NBA title.
Their actions this week confirm the Nets are open to all options to make that happen. Makes you proud, doesn’t it?