NEW YORK (AP) — Selecting Mason Plumlee in the first round was the only bit of business the Nets were talking about Thursday night — though it was far from the biggest news Brooklyn made during the NBA draft.
Brooklyn took Plumlee, a 7-footer from Duke, with the 22nd pick as they worked to acquire Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Celtics.
Plumlee played four seasons for the Blue Devils and improved his scoring average every season, topping out at 17.1 as a senior.
But Plumlee was a footnote for the Nets on this night. Brooklyn is in the process of making a huge trade with Boston. According to a person familiar with the situation, the Nets will acquire veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in a deal that was still developing as the draft ended. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details were to remain private.
Nets General Manager Billy King declined to comment on the deal at a late news conference, sticking only to draft questions.
"Nothing at all," King said when asked what he could say about the Nets making other news on draft night.
King directed all questions back to his draft pick.
"Mason gives us a better shot," he said with a smile.
Plumlee's brother, Miles, also played for Duke and was drafted by the Indiana Pacers No. 26 overall last year. The youngest Plumlee brother from Warsaw, Ind., Marshall, will be a sophomore at Duke next season.
Mason Plumlee adds depth, size and athleticism to a Nets frontcourt which really could be in flux — and aging. Garnett is 37 and Pierce will be 36 when the season starts. If the trade goes through, forwards Kris Humprhries and Gerald Wallace could be leaving Brooklyn and heading to Boston.
The Nets also have Andray Blatche behind All-Star center Brook Lopez, but Blatche can become a free agent.
Plumlee, 23, was one of the better low-post scorers in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season and averaged 9.9 rebounds per game for coach Mike Krzyzewski, who also coached King at Duke.
"I've seen him up close his whole career," King said. "I think he gives us some athletic ability up front. He adds a dimension that we don't have in our bigs."
Plumlee had a good look at his new home arena and received a warm welcome from the Nets fans at Barclays Center. He also met new coach Jason Kidd and star point guard Deron Williams.
"They just welcomed me and I'm just excited about being around those guys," said Plumlee, who was making his first trip to Brooklyn.
The Nets finished fourth in the Eastern Conference last season, their first in Brooklyn after relocating from New Jersey. But they lost in the first round of the playoffs to a banged-up Chicago Bulls team, dropping Game 7 at home.
AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.