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 per cent shooting. Evans was a favourite 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 has fallen out of favour 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."
But Thornton 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 per cent from the floor, including 31 per cent 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.
"Adding Jason and Reggie provides our roster with toughness and veteran leadership that will help this team continue to grow," D'Alessandro said. "They bring a wealth of NBA experience to Sacramento that will undoubtedly make a positive impact on our younger players."
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.