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DURHAM, N.C. -- Billy King believes the Brooklyn Nets' window to win a title is this season.
"Now, this is the window -- this season," the Nets' general manager said Wednesday at Duke University, where the team is holding its training camp. "We're going to see what we can do with this season, and then we'll see what next season brings."
King raised the level of the team's expectations dramatically this offseason by adding Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko to join Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov is projected to spend approximately $189 million in salaries, including an NBA-record $87 million in luxury taxes.
They're here to win. When you have guys that have made as much money as they do, the only thing they can do next is try to accomplish something, which is win a championship.
”-- Nets GM Billy King
Garnett, 37, and Pierce, 35, signed off on a trade from the Boston Celtics to Brooklyn with the sole intention of winning another championship together.
"That's the only reason I came back man," said Garnett, who is entering his 19th season. "I like the bones of this team and what I thought I could bring to this team could help."
Garnett and Pierce immediately began another chase for the ring by working on transforming the Nets' defense in the first two days of camp this week at Duke. Garnett's voice could be heard from start to finish of practices, quarterbacking the Nets' defense.
Nets first-year head coach Jason Kidd believes Garnett, Pierce and Terry will inject the team with some much-needed toughness. King said there were too many times last season when the Nets were soft.
"You saw it, there were certain games where things just happened that you can't allow to happen," King said. "At some point, you've got to knock a guy on his ass if they're doing things. You've got to take a hard foul and let them know you just can't do that. And we didn't do it."
The Nets are also hoping that Garnett will help Lopez take the next step in his budding career. Lopez averaged 19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks and became a first-time All-Star last season.
"I've never played with a center whose skill level is at this point," Garnett said. "I've obviously played with greats, but to the point where he's young and still hasn't peaked yet."
However, Garnett will not have the luxury of waiting very long for Lopez or the Nets to reach their peak. The championship window is open now -- and it may not be open for too long for this veteran team.
"They're here to win," King said. "When you have guys that have made as much money as they do, the only thing they can do next is try to accomplish something, which is win a championship."