NEW YORK — On Thursday, the Brooklyn Nets introduced Shaun Livingston to the media, via conference call.
Livingston, an eight-year NBA veteran, played last season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, appearing in 66 games and starting 16 of them. At 6 feet, 7 inches tall, Livingston is one of the NBA's taller point guards and may see time at either guard spot this season, playing alongside Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and at times, even Jason Terry.
Livingston was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers with the fourth overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft, but suffered a severe knee injury in 2007 that changed the trajectory of his career. Since then, he has played for six different teams, but has emerged as a quality reserve guard over the past two seasons.
Now, he is one of a few fresh faces in Brooklyn that will try to lead Jason Kidd's team to a successful 2013-14 NBA season.
When asked why he chose the Nets over the four or five other teams that were courting him, Livingston cited the Nets ability to compete right away. "This is my tenth year going into the league," he said. "I've only been to the playoffs one time. It's the ability to be competitive right away."
Years ago, Livingston was considered one of the top point guard prospects in the league, but since, has successfully reinvented himself. "I'll never really compare to where I was," he told reporters via conference call on Thursday. "The athletic ability will probably never be there, but I am as close to 100 percent as I'll ever be. The knee has gotten stronger each year, so that's a good thing."
And wearing the black and white of Brooklyn? For him, that is a good thing, as well, especially after speaking with Jason Kidd about what Livingston's role on the team would be.
"It really wasn't a hard sell," Livingston said. "It was more about how they wanted to play and where they say me fitting into the team, fitting into the system, my role on the team. Like I said earlier, it's a very attractive situation, being able to play with Hall-of-Famers, playing for a Hall-of-Famer. It's a great opportunity for me to continue to learn and continue my journey."
The journey, Livingston hopes, will end with a trip to the NBA Finals, though he knows that the journey will be long.
"I think with the [Garnett and Pierce] trade, it just makes the team instantly more competitive, on paper," he said. "Obviously, we have to go and play it out and follow it up. There will be a lot of expectations and high expectations because of the trade, but it definitely influenced my decision and it helped, as well."
On Thursday, the Nets introduced Livingston and a re-signed Andray Blatche to the media. And next week, the club is expected to do the same with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry.
With proven winners entering the fold and quality players ready to suit up in Brooklyn, Kidd and general manager Billy King are hoping to introduce a Larry O'Brien trophy to Brooklyn sometime soon, as well.
For the Nets, they hope Livingston, who is ready to start fresh, can be a part of that journey.