Shaun Livingston: My bond with Jason Kidd “meant a lot” on path

Shaun Livingston & Jason Kidd in 2014. (AP)
Shaun Livingston & Jason Kidd in 2014. (AP)
Shaun Livingston & Jason Kidd in 2014. (AP)

While the Nets decided who they’d bring in to back up Deron Williams in the 2013 offseason, former Nets player & coach Jason Kidd lobbied hard for the 6’7″ Shaun Livingston, who most people knew as “the guy who had THAT knee injury.”

Kidd won out, and the Nets signed Livingston to a one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum. Livingston responded with the best season of his career, averaging 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game as the backcourt anchor of the team’s longball philosophy.

Livingston played well enough to price himself out of Brooklyn, and is now three wins away from an NBA championship while backing up MVP Stephen Curry with the Golden State Warriors. In a Q-and-A session with David Aldridge of, Livingston credited Kidd’s influence and mentality as a major factor in his rebirth:

DA: How important was the year in Brooklyn, and quickly gaining the confidence and trust of Jason Kidd?

SL: I knew he had vouched for me, even before. He was with the Knicks and I was with Cleveland (in 2013), and the way I played, I think he kind of had, it was a mutual respect, as far as the way I played the game, the way I studied it, as far as having a high IQ. And obviously he’s one of the best point guards to play, and he led a team for 20 years. Just having that bond, having that trust in me last year meant a lot. It made me want to go out and play hard every night, play my heart out every night, really back up his decision to bring me to that team.

It wasn’t just Kidd. In March, Livingston told The Brooklyn Game the biggest thing he learned in his season with the Nets was “Playing with (Paul) Pierce and K.G. (Kevin Garnett), just that level of competition. The mentality more than anything. What it takes to win. They got a real preparation for the game, and a real hate for the other team. You take that with you. It gives you a chip on your shoulder. It gives guys confidence.”

Livingston was likely gone no matter what happened with Kidd (or Pierce & Garnett) the following offseason — the Nets could only offer him $10 million over three years under the CBA, and were a team on the decline, while the Warriors had a young core that had just won 52 games in the tougher Western Conference. But with each successful game, in each four-to-six minute stint, he’s getting just a little stronger, moving past his injury just an inch or two more. — Warriors want new arena to have that familiar roar of old