Alan Anderson officially agreed to a deal with the Brooklyn Nets last week but he had quite the journey getting to this point and might not be here without the support of his new teammate, Kevin Garnett. When Anderson was a high school basketball player growing up in Minnesota, he attended a basketball camp that Garnett ran. Not only did Anderson excel at the camp, he won MVP and grabbed the attention of the All-Star forward.
Last year before facing Garnett and the Boston Celtics, Anderson told the Toronto Sun “We exchanged numbers and then he was like a mentor for me. I mean he was the BIG TICKET and he always looked after me and checked up on me. Being in high school and you’re talking to Kevin Garnett, it was like ‘That’s Kevin Garnett,’ you know what I mean?”
Anderson moved on to play 4 years at Michigan State, where he made a Final 4 Appearance and was named 2nd Team All Big-Ten his senior season. Despite his collegiate success Anderson went undrafted but eventually made the Charlotte Bobcats roster for the 05-06 and 06-07 seasons. Anderson saw the court in only 53 games during those two seasons and by the start of the 07-08 campaign, he was not on an NBA roster.
Anderson admitted that he had a lot of self-doubt at that time but Garnett was there to provide words of encouragement, “He was always talking to me, always kept my head, even my first year out of the NBA he was telling me I would get back, that I was an NBA player, he always stayed positive with me.”
Anderson went on to play in the D-League that season and then moved overseas to continue his basketball career. He bounced around in Europe playing for teams in Italy, Russia, Croatia, Israel and Spain during his time away from the NBA.
Then in the middle of the 2011-2012 season, while he was playing in China, the Toronto Raptors offered Anderson a 10-day contract. They would hold on to him for the rest of the season and re-sign him for 2012-2013. Anderon ended up averaging 10.3 points per game off the bench and provided excellent defense last year.
This off-season, there was speculation that Anderson would join the Nets as their “Plan B” to Bojan Bogdanovic. However, Andrei Kirilenko agreed to take a big pay cut and it seemed Anderson would not be able to join Garnett in Brooklyn.
Then on Friday, in an unexpected move, it was announced that Anderson had agreed to a two year deal with the Nets. The deal has a player option for next season and is worth the veteran minimum. Anderson will now be able to join Garnett in Brooklyn and help him with an unexpected career turn, just like his mentor did for him a few years back.
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