FRIDAY, 12:37pm: The Nets have officially signed King to a contract extension, the team announced today in a press release. Details on the years and dollars involved in the deal weren't disclosed.
"Billy has been a great asset to the Nets organization over the last three years," owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a statement. "He
has shown he is not afraid to be bold and take risks, and, as a result,
we have a playoff team with a world of potential. We are glad we will
have the opportunity to continue our work together and realize
THURSDAY, 1:10pm: The Nets and Billy King are in the process of finalizing a multiyear contract extension for the general manager, whose current deal is set to expire this summer, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. A formal announcement from the team is expected sometime in the near future, according to Wojnarowski.
King, who assumed his current role with the Nets in July 2010, has rebuilt the club into an Eastern Conference contender since then, with the help of a free-spending owner in Mikhail Prokhorov. King and the Nets were the NBA's biggest spender last summer, when the team signed Deron Williams and Brook Lopez to maximum contracts, inked Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace to eight-digit, multiyear deals, and assumed Joe Johnson's hefty contract in a trade with the Hawks.
Prior to becoming the Nets' GM, King spent more than nine years in Philadelphia as general manager of the 76ers.
Led by Jrue Holiday, the 76ers remain three games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Significant help in the form of another all-star caliber player could be on the way within the next several weeks, as Andrew Bynum has continued to make progress toward his goal of possibly returning to practice next week, notes Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com. The 7'0 center has been plagued by bone bruises in both knees since the start of the season. With that aside, here are more news and notes from the Atlantic Division:
- Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York reports that Nets GM Billy King will meet with owner Mikhail Prokhorov on Wednesday to discuss P.J. Carlesimo and the job he's done so far as the interim head coach. While Carlesimo has done an exceptional job after replacing Avery Johnson, Prokhorov is said to still be enamored with going after big names such as Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy in the offseason.
- According to A. Sherrod Blakeley of CSNNE.com, Celtics guard Rajon Rondo will get a second opinion on his ACL injury from Dr. James Andrews, who is considered be arguably "the best orthopedic surgeon in the business."
- Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun lays out the Raptors' top five pressing issues as they inch closer to the deadline, calling their interest in Rudy Gay the "most likely to come to fruition" rumor, examining the return of both Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas from injury, Terrence Ross' progression into coach Dwane Casey's crunch-time lineup, and the continued acclimation of Landry Fields. With regard to Bargnani, Ganter thinks that Casey may have to provide a significant role at the expense of Ed Davis' minutes in order to showcase the 7-footer's health.
- Eric Koreen of the National Post doesn't think that Gay is the cure-all answer for the Raptors, who still have many other important questions to answer regardless of whether they land him or not. Among those question marks involve the franchise's commitment to GM Bryan Colangelo, the need for more significant roster moves, and the struggles of point guard Kyle Lowry.
- Doc Rivers doesn't appear too concerned about his players making an adjustment without Rondo, saying that a "no-point guard system" is something that the second unit has already found success with, writes Greg Payne of ESPN Boston.
- Mike Woodson will place a higher priority on getting Knicks three point sharpshooter Steve Novak more involved in the offense, says Ian Begley of ESPN New York.
While many have already been labeling Deron Williams as a "coach killer," the Nets' decision to fire Avery Johnson today wasn't on D-Will, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). SI.com's Chris Mannix agrees, noting (via Twitter) that no Nets players, including Williams, were consulted before the decision was made. No matter who was behind the move, the Nets are in the market for a new coach, with P.J. Carlesimo taking over in the interim. We'll round up today's rumblings about the search right here, with the latest updates at the top....
- Phil Jackson's representative, Todd Musburger,
tells TNT's David Aldridge in a text that Jackson currently has "no
interest" in the Nets' job (Twitter link).
- Nate McMillan isn't on the Nets' radar right now, according to Mannix (via Twitter).
- Johnson had "badly wanted" a contract extension from the Nets, and was surprised when the team engaged in talks with GM Billy King before talking about a new deal for the coach, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
- Brooklyn isn't expected to begin its coaching search in earnest until the new year, reports Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link).
- The Nets are launching a "broad" search that will include a call to Phil Jackson, among others, tweets ESPN.com's Marc Stein. However, TNT's David Aldridge points out (via Twitter) that nothing seems to have changed regarding Jackson's desire to gain organizational control in any job he accepts.
- Talks with the Lakers got Jackson thinking about coaching again, so he'd at least listen if and when the Nets call, says Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (via Twitter).
- According to Aldridge (Twitter link), the Nets have yet to contact Nate McMillan or Brian Shaw, but that doesn't mean they won't do so eventually.
- McMillan, David Blatt, and both Van Gundys (Stan and Jeff) are candidates Ken Berger of CBSSports.com thinks the Nets may consider in their search. However, "the answer to whether the Nets will consider [John] Calipari is an unequivocal no," according to Berger.
- In an email to Mannix at SI.com (Twitter link), Stan Van Gundy reiterated something we heard earlier today, writing that he has "no interest at all" in the Nets' job.
The reaction to the Raptors' decision to grant DeMar DeRozan an incentive-laden four-year extension worth at least $38MM met with immediate criticism this evening, as it seemed the Raptors had overpaid. Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, one of those initial critics, wonders about the timing of the commitment, but notes that the team made a similar move when they extended Andrea Bargnani, and he's turned out to be a bargain. Still, he believes both players are too inefficient to cover for their flaws (Twitter link). As we wait for more news as the extension deadline draws near, here's the latest from around the Atlantic Division.
- Nets GM Billy King admits he was making moves just to keep his job when he was GM of the Sixers, but he's been much more bold since taking over the Nets, writes Roderick Boone of Newsday.
- Despite a spate of injuries, Knicks coach Mike Woodson is confident his request that the team sign veteran players in the offseason will bear fruit, as Nate Taylor of The New York Times documents.
- Raymond Felton is anxious to vanquish the ghosts of Jeremy Lin, his predecessor as Knicks point guard, notes Newsday's Al Iannazzone. "Jeremy's gone," Felton said. "He's in Houston now. That's a lost cause. He's not coming back. It's my team. I'm the point guard. Me and (Jason) Kidd, so Jeremy Lin is in Houston. Only time he comes back is when he plays against us."
- No player will ever burst on the scene quite like Lin did last year, but Chris Copeland is the Knicks best candidate for a breakout season in 2012/13, according to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Though Jeff Green struggled in his first game since his offseason signing with the Celtics, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com says Green's best is yet to come.
scout Don Sellers attended a workout featuring Japeth Aguilar
, according to HoopsHype (Twitter
link). On Tuesday, we relayed a report
that the 25-year-old Filipino forward's agent had been contacted by two undisclosed teams. In another tweet
, HoopsHype moved along this story from ESPN Estadao
which says that center Rafael Hettsheimeir
has signed a contract with Real Madrid. Earlier this month, the Brazilian big man had reportedly fielded interest
from the Mavericks
. Here's what else we're hearing from around the league this evening...
- Mavericks veteran Dirk Nowitzki is excited about the team's offseason additions and says that anything is possible if the chemistry is right, according to Eddie Sefko of SportsDay DFW.
- Kendrick Perkins doesn't think that he nor any of his Thunder teammates need to personally intervene in order to influence James Harden's contract negotiations, believing that his decision will be affected just by returning to training camp and seeing his "family" again (John Rohde of NewsOK reports).
- HoopsWorld provides their season preview of the Lakers, who enter the 2012-13 season with a collection of superstar talent and championship aspirations. According to Eric Pincus, the Lakers' powerfully talented lineup along with improved depth gives them the opportunity to compete at the highest level. On the flip side, Pincus writes that age is definitely not on their side and wonders if Mike Brown has the personality to lead this team to a championship.
- Brian Geltzeiler of SheridanHoops.com offers his thoughts on hot topics that he's been asked about on Twitter and the radio, namely about his projections for the Bulls this season, the idea that Ray Allen's addition to the Heat makes them unbeatable, and if the new CBA is having its desired effect.
A few months removed from a tough playoff exit against the Heat
and now with added firepower from a busy offseason, anything less than a rematch with Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals would be unfathomable for the Celtics
, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston. A panel made up of Celtics bloggers also weighed in on Boston's chances
this season, with all predicting an appearance in the conference finals and one of them predicting a championship. Here's more of what we're hearing out of the Atlantic Division tonight:
The Chris Bosh-less Heat and Celtics resume battle this evening in a pivotal Game 4 in Boston. A win for the Celtics would continue a Conference Finals streak of the home team coming away with a victory. The Thunder brought their series with the Spurs to a tie as they beat San Antonio 109-103 in Oklahoma City on Saturday night. Let's catch up on the latest news and happenings making headlines from around the league...
- FoxSportsOhio.com's Sam Amico analyzes former North Carolina center Tyler Zeller, saying he's one of the most underrated players in this year's draft class.
- CSNPhilly.com's Dave Zeitlin says Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine impressed the Sixers in a workout with his hometown team. In their most recently updated mock draft, DraftExpress.com believes Jardine will not be selected in the first two rounds.
- Jerry Sloan has yet to hear from the Magic about their head coaching vacancy, tweets Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida. The former Jazz head coach interviewed with the Bobcats and is still considered to be a candidate for their head coaching vacancy.
- Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News profiles Nets general manager Billy King and the job has done thus far running the team's front office. King made the bold move of trading for Deron Williams, but needs to convince the former Jazz star to join the team in Brooklyn in order to make the deal worth while.
- The playoffs aren't just for the big market teams anymore as the Spurs and Thunder have demonstrated, writes Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press. "I think it's a healthy thing to be able to be a small market like San Antonio or Oklahoma City and do well," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "It bodes well for the league. Everything is not always a big-market deal. It's kind of fun to spread it around, that's for sure.
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel says the Heat are losing the battle of the glass against the Celtics thanks to their insistence on playing small ball.