EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -When he was a free agent three years ago, Keyon Dooling was wooed by the New Jersey Nets.
He recalled having dinner at a New York restaurant with Nets coach Lawrence Frank and team president Rod Thorn, when he got a call from the Magic. He eventually signed a three-year contract with Orlando, turning down an offer from the Nets.
Three years later, the 28-year-old guard has landed in New Jersey. He was acquired from the Magic in a sign-and-trade transaction last week for the $3 million contract exemption the Nets owned from the Jason Kidd deal last season.
``Better late than never,'' Dooling said about becoming a Net.
An eight-year NBA veteran, Dooling is expected to back up Devin Harris at point guard and Vince Carter at shooting guard. The Nets cleared space for Dooling on Tuesday by trading backup point guard Marcus Williams to Golden State for a conditional draft choice.
Dooling, who averaged 8.1 points in 72 games for Orlando as a backup guard last season, can play either guard position. Dooling's versatility was one reason the Nets wanted him.
``I think it's more relevant on the defensive end,'' Frank said Wednesday. ``Keyon is a well-coached player. ... I love guys who play with energy, passion and who love to play. He's a bubbly guy and that's the way he plays. He's the same way as a person as he is as a player.''
Dooling laughed when he was told that Frank called him ``bubbly.''
``I guess that's a good term,'' Dooling said. ``I like being bubbly. I like talking and getting along with people, dealing with the media. I can handle all of that.''
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