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Thursday, July 11, 2013
Livingston: Nets 'a great opportunity'

By Mike Mazzeo

Jason Kidd and Deron Williams both called Shaun Livingston, but Livingston didn't need to be sold on playing for the Brooklyn Nets.

Livingston, after all, has only been to the playoffs once in his first eight NBA seasons.

Shaun Livingston
Shaun Livingston signed a one-year contract with the Nets.
So at this juncture in his career, he wants to win. And the 27-year-old backup point guard felt like the Nets -- with their roster upgrades -- gave him the best opportunity to do that.

"It really wasn't a hard sell," Livingston said in a Thursday conference call after officially signing a one-year contract with the Nets worth the veteran's minimum.

"It was more just how they wanted to play, and where they saw me fitting me 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 future Hall of Famers, a Hall of Fame player, coach now, it's a great opportunity for me to continue to learn and expand my journey."

Livingston said four or five other teams were after him, but the strongest interest came from the Nets and his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Livingston was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft and was touted as a future star. But he suffered one of the most gruesome left knee injuries in league history three years later, and was never the same.

"I'll never get back to where I was, the athletic ability will never really be there," Livingston said. "The knee has gotten stronger each year, so that's a good thing. It's probably as close to 100 percent as it'll be."

Livingston had to reinvent his game as a result of the injury.

"I relied a lot on my speed, quickness and athleticism at an early age because I was still learning the game, and it did make it easier," Livingston said. "Now, since the injury, I've really had to slow down my game, really think the game through and also find a niche. And I think that's how you can create longevity for yourself in any career."

Livingston appeared in his only postseason in 2005-06 when he was with the Los Angeles Clippers.

"That's some of the most fun I've ever had playing basketball," Livingston said. "I just love the atmosphere and the opportunity to compete on the highest level."

Livingston said he wants to come in and provide a breather for Williams when the starter needs a rest. Nets GM Billy King brought up the possibility that Livingston and Williams could play together in the backcourt on occasion.

Livingston feels like the Nets have high expectations on paper, "but as far as this team [is concerned] we have to go out there and do it."

"I think we're gonna have a lot of versatility, but we're going to be more of an execution team with our experience," Livingston said.