NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets acquired guard Marcus Thornton from the Sacramento Kings for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans on Wednesday, removing two little-used veterans from their aging roster and hoping a younger one can rediscover his scoring touch.
Terry came from Boston along with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce but has appeared in just 35 games after a knee injury, averaging 4.5 points on 36 percent shooting. Evans was a favorite of fans but not coach Jason Kidd, who used him in just 30 of their 51 games.
Evans made 56 starts last season and led the Nets with 11.1 rebounds per game, but lost his starting spot when the Nets acquired Garnett, and then fell behind rookie Mason Plumlee in Kidd’s rotation.
Thornton averaged 21.3 points in 23 games with the Kings in 2010-11 after being acquired in a midseason trade with New Orleans.
He then led the Kings with 18.7 points per game in 2011-12, but had fallen out of favor under defensive-minded coach Michael Malone, even getting benched at one point to make way for rookie Ben McLemore.
“Marcus is a proven scorer in this league,” Nets general manager Billy King said in a statement. “He is a young talent who will help us in the backcourt.”
Thornton, now 26 years old, is averaging just 8.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and one assist in 24 minutes per game this season. He has started 26 of 46 games and is shooting 38 percent from the floor, including 31 percent from 3-point range.
It’s the third move for the Kings since the season started as they rebuild under new owner Vivek Ranadive, general manager Pete D’Alessandro and Malone. Sacramento sent Luc Mbah a Moute to Minnesota for Derrick Williams on Nov. 26 and acquired Rudy Gay in a seven-play deal with Toronto on Dec. 9.
“We’re an unfinished product,” D’Alessandro said before the Kings hosted Golden State on Wednesday night. “We’re just going to continue to try to change and turn it over and try to figure it out until we can get it right. I think change is good when you’ve lost a lot. You have to change. You always have to change.”
One of the biggest reasons the Kings made the trade is to give more playing time to McLemore and fellow rookie Ray McCallum. McLemore, the seventh overall pick out of Kansas, made his 27th start Wednesday night.
“We have to see these guys play, and not in practice but in NBA games to see what they’re capable of doing so we can make decisions coming in the offseason,” Malone said.
The Kings, under the former ownership of the Maloof family, signed Thornton to a four-year contract worth about $31 million just before the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. Thornton is making $8.05 million this season and is due $8.575 million next season.
He’ll bring some youth to a Nets team that loaded up on veterans in an expensive attempt to make a run at a title this season. But they came out of the All-Star break with a 24-27 record, good for only seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
They could still make another move before Thursday’s 3 p.m. EST trade deadline, even though they were already slated to pay more than $180 million in salary and taxes this season.
AP Sports Writer Antonio Gonzalez in Sacramento, Calif. contributed to this report.