Aldridge: Livingston’s new deal a ‘long time coming’


VIDEO: Rachel Nichols talks with Shaun Livingston about his long NBA path

Seven years after suffering one of the most gruesome knee injuries in the history of the NBA, Shaun Livingston is almost — almost — all the way back.

Livingston, who resurrected his career with the Brooklyn Nets last season, agreed to a three-year, $16 million deal with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday that can’t be officially signed until after the league moratorium ends July 10. In Golden State, he’ll back up both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for new Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

After tearing just about everything in his left knee and dislocating his kneecap while playing for the Clippers in 2007, Livingston spent the next six years rehabbing, playing for six teams as his game slowly came back to life. Last season in Brooklyn, he was supposed to play a limited role for the Nets. But he wound up playing 26 minutes a night, and starting 54 games. And he started to get back some of the explosiveness he’d lost all those years ago, combining it with the cerebral part of the game he always possessed.

“Long time coming,” Livingston said Tuesday night by phone.

He was immediately drawn to Golden State. He grew up down the way from Andre Iguodala in Springfield, Ill., and played with Warriors center Andrew Bogut when both were in Milwaukee. He also knew he’d be joining a Warriors team that made the playoffs two years straight under former coach Mark Jackson.

“It feels good to be kind of a priority on a winning team,” he said. “It was the same feeling last year with Brooklyn. I was excited about the opportunity. … Out here, I can kind of be rewarded for my play last year, which is rewarding [in itself].

“It’s a great feeling. And I really wanted to be competitive. Being in the playoffs last year, being in a competitive situation, that’s what I’m all about. But this is my road, and my struggle. With all my issues, to have this now, it’s great.”

Livingston said the bizarre departure of Jason Kidd, a strong backer of his, as coach of the Nets over the weekend was not a major factor in his decision to go to Golden State. A bigger issue was the contractual limitation Brooklyn had because of its enormous team salary last season. The only way the Nets could re-sign Livingston was to use the taxpayer mid-level exception, which starts at just more than $3 million for next season.

By contrast, Golden State had the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, starting at $5.3 million next season, to use for Livingston.

“I don’t know if [Kidd’s departure] would have played a factor, because I don’t know that the contract situation would have worked out,” Livingston said. “But Jason’s situation didn’t help matters.”

21 Comments

  1. Carlo says:

    Great deal.
    Now Klay – who’s unhappy – can be traded to improve further.

    After just one year, Nets already seem to melt away.

  2. squala96 says:

    I prefer Shaun over an on-off Klay. Methinks the other ‘Splash Bro’ will be traded so Livingston can start at the two. While I want the Warriors to fail because of the wrongful firing of Mark Jackson, I also like Steph Curry and new coach Steve Kerr. Having the comeback kid on board is gonna be really helpful.

  3. keithmon says:

    Keep it going Shaun, you’re a great example to anyone who’s had a devastating setback. Your deal is an example of what makes free agency necessary.

  4. dave says:

    If there is one player I would like to meet in the NBA its Shaun Livingston. Incredible comeback, wonder what makes this guy tick, and how did he accomplish and overcome something that seemed impossible.

  5. Kimmy says:

    Good for the Warriors. Bad for the Nets.

  6. Titus says:

    Good for him

  7. Henrik Jensen says:

    awesome for him !

  8. right Bob Ellison

  9. jake s. says:

    Need more 2 way playing. Stars are smart.

  10. qqq says:

    Couldnt be more happy for Livingston.
    He deserves alot of credit coming back from an injury like that.

  11. protonjon says:

    This makes trading Klay a lot easier now.

  12. edrik says:

    this adds big boost to backcourt defense… klay’s D needs to pick up… and perhaps better decision making than curry

    • TTKIN says:

      Klay is known as one of the better defending 2-guards in the league. Curry is the one who has to be “hid” on defense.

      Curry decision making will improve now cuz when he plays with Livingston, he can play off-ball. In the playoffs a couple yrs ago, that’s when he was putting up 20 pt quarters; when Jarret Jack would handle the ball and Steph would run to the 3 pt line.

  13. well deserved bud!i was flicking through the slam article when you were at peoria the other day.what a journey,what a man!

  14. Rob says:

    A.J., no disrespect, but shut up. Livingston deserved it, probably more. Happy for the guy. S-Dot!

  15. website0123 says:

    That’s awesome for Livingston. Extremely happy for him. Amazing comeback and he worked his butt off to become a big-time contributor on the court again. This contract is well deserved and I think he’ll flourish in Golden State.

  16. Bob Ellison says:

    A. J.:

    Sorry — you’re wrong.

    Have followed Livingston since his Chicago H. S. days.

    With his more than just solid performance for the Nets, he more than earned what GSW contracted him for.

    You’re obviously forgetting a key factor. With the Nets, his coach was a former PG.

    His new coach, Steve Kerr, also a former championship guard..

    They both recognize exceptional talent in a Back-Court player — & one with heart, plenty of heart..

    Healthy, Sean Livingston will flourish.

    Bob Ellison

  17. A.J. says:

    That Livingston deal is ridiculous.