Billy King

Billy King Hopes For Another Shot In NBA Front Office

Former Nets general manager Billy King is primarily known these days as the man who pulled the trigger on the infamous trade that resulted in the Celtics owning Brooklyn’s first-round picks for several years, allowing Boston to secure franchise cornerstones like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. In a conversation with Chris Mannix of, King was willing to revisit that deal, but said he hopes it’s not the only thing he’s remembered for.

“I don’t want that to define my overall basketball career,” King said of the deal that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn. “A lot of good things happened during my time in the NBA. Things like [the trade] overshadow everything else. I know I have a lot more to give. People call to ask about players I have had on my teams. It does motivate me [to get back], not that I want to erase what happened in Brooklyn, but I want to help.”

As Mannix relays, King doesn’t expect to return to a GM role and get another chance to run a franchise. However, he believes he “could help just giving advice,” given his experience with managing personalities, managing a locker room, and managing a coaching staff. He’s not sure if he’ll get that shot from an NBA team.

“I don’t know,” King told Mannix. “I would hope to believe yes, but you never know. People get back in. I know my passion is there, the work ethic is there, the knowledge is there. … Coaches get hired after unbelievably bad runs with a team, they bounce back and do a great job. Mike D’Antoni coached in Denver, was fired, went to Phoenix and was terrific. I think from a coaching standpoint, [owners] look at track record. They don’t look at GM’s draft record, what did the team do that they helped build.”

King, who took over as the Nets’ general manager after a 12-70 season in 2010, helped build a roster that made three straight playoff appearances from 2013 to 2015, earning a spot in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2014. However, the deal with Boston left the franchise bereft of assets — Brooklyn hasn’t been back to the postseason or won more than 28 games in a season since 2015.

For more comments from King on his time in Philadelphia, his plans for the future, and – of course – what he’d do differently if he could revisit those negotiations with the Celtics, be sure to check out Mannix’s full article.

Billy King Looks Back On Tenure With Nets

Former Nets GM Billy King, who is widely blamed for turning the organization into a perennial loser with no lottery picks, tells his side of the story in an interview with The Glue Guys, a Nets-themed podcast.

King touches on several controversial issues in the 45-minute session, including an effort to acquire Chris Paul, the failure to get Dwight Howard when he wanted to join the Nets and the ill-fated trade that sent three unprotected first-rounders to Boston for a package centered around veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

The highlights:

  • King tried to get Paul from New Orleans before dealing with Utah for Deron Williams. King believed he was making progress, but the deal went cold after Jeff Bowers was replaced as GM by Dell Demps. “At that time, I don’t think Dell wanted his first thing to be trading Chris Paul,” King said.
  • The Nets believed they were close to acquiring Howard from Orlando just before the 2012 trade deadline. “We went to bed as a staff — we left the office pretty late — we went to bed pretty much knowing that tomorrow we’re going to get Dwight,” King said. Magic GM Otis Smith had planned to finalize the deal the next morning, but King woke up to a text saying that Howard had elected to opt in for the following season. King reached out to Howard’s agent, who responded, “I don’t think he did,” and even Smith hadn’t heard the news when King called him. However, Smith returned the call an hour later and confirmed the news.
  • The Nets responded by trading their 2012 first-round pick to Portland in exchange for Gerald Wallace in an attempt to appease Williams and discourage him from opting out over the summer. The Blazers used that pick to draft Damian Lillard.
  • King reached out to the Celtics in 2013 because he thought he had a talented nucleus that needed veteran leadership and was interested in acquiring Pierce. Negotiations led to Garnett and Jason Terry being included and the package of picks going to Boston.
  • King made an offer to Pierce in the summer of 2014, but he got a better deal from Washington and the Nets decided not to match it. “Once that decision was made, I think it changed our thought process,” King said. “I think some of the players even thought, ‘What’s going on here? We were committed and now we’re not.” King added that he wouldn’t have made the deal with Boston if he knew he couldn’t keep Pierce longer than one season.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Ibaka, Bradley

Despite the fact that the Nets mortgaged their future for a shot at short-term success back in 2013, the franchise has shown flashes of promise throughout a long rebuild. Buddy Grizzard of Basketball Insiders recently wrote about the years-long process, pointing out that for all the up-hill challenges the club’s general managers have faced, they’ve done a decent job drafting young talent.

When the club first moved to from New Jersey to Brooklyn, first-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018 were all sent to Boston in exchange for a package surrounding Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Suffice it to say, the bold gamble didn’t pay off for the franchise but the organization is making the most out of the scant cards they dealt themselves.

Grizzard mentions former general manager Billy King‘s selection of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in the 2015 draft as an intriguing aspect of the current roster, as well as current general manager Sean Marks‘ decision to nab Caris LeVert at No. 20 in 2016.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • After missing 18 games with an Achilles injury, Avery Bradley had been on a minute restriction for the Celtics. As of March 12th the limitations are no longer, says A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England.
  • Say what you will about Cory Joseph backing up the injured Kyle Lowry, but one thing the reserve hasn’t been able to replicate is Lowry’s three-point shooting. “We’re more of a spread-it team,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said Monday night, per Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. “Cory’s an attack guy, but he’s going into where everybody else is. It’s not that Cory’s doing something wrong; that’s just his game. When Kyle’s in there, he can space out and be one of the (pass) receivers out there.”
  • When the Raptors acquired Serge Ibaka, they added a rare force capable of impacting a basketball game without scoring a point, Ryan Wolstat of the National Post writes. Ibaka did just that on Monday night, finishing with a plus-18 rating despite not scoring a single basket.


Nets Notes: Stephenson, Ferrell, Mockevicius, Beech

Former Nets GM Billy King turned down a trade proposal last season that would have brought Lance Stephenson to Brooklyn, according to King, who lost the GM title in January in a shakeup that cost coach Lionel Hollins his job, nixed the deal, which would have sent Joe Johnson to Charlotte in exchange for Stephenson and other unidentified players. The trade had the approval of Dmitry Razumov, chairman of the Nets’ board of directors, and NetsDaily shares the story as a way of showing that King had final say on all personnel moves, including the disastrous deal with the Celtics that put Brooklyn in its current position. King, the columnist added, also rejected Razumov’s suggestion to pursue JaVale McGee.

There’s more news tonight out of Brooklyn:

  • Yogi Ferrell, Egidijus Mockevicius and Beau Beech will come into camp knowing that they’re likely headed to the Nets’ new D-League affiliate on Long Island, NetsDaily writes in the same piece. All three received “training camp invites,” which don’t become fully guaranteed unless the players remain on the roster until all contracts are guaranteed in early January. The author notes that roster spots could be hard to earn with Brooklyn having 15 players with fully guaranteed contracts, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Seven of those players have deals that either will expire or can expire after the upcoming season, so the Nets have flexibility if they decide to keep Ferrell, Mockevicius or Beech.
  • The Nets may pick up another player before camp with the intention of sending him to the D-League, NetsDaily adds. The rights of the last four players cut would automatically go to the Long Island affiliate if they aren’t claimed off waivers. Brooklyn currently has 18 players headed to camp, two shy of the NBA limit.

Nets Interested In Tommy Sheppard For GM Job

The Nets have requested permission to interview Wizards senior VP of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard for their GM vacancy, a source said to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. He joins Bryan Colangelo, Arturas Karnisovas and Gersson Rosas as contenders for the position, Lewis notes, having reported earlier this week that Danny Ferry was no longer a viable candidate. John Calipari is a long shot candidate, but remains a possibility because of his strong support from CEO Brett Yormark, according to Lewis.

Brooklyn already reportedly received permission to speak with Karnisovas and Rosas. Washington denied a June 2014 request from the Grizzlies to interview Sheppard, as Chris Vernon of 92.9 FM ESPN in Memphis reported at the time, so it’s no lock that the Nets will have the chance to pursue him. Sheppard has been with the Wizards for 12 years and assumed his current position under GM Ernie Grunfeld shortly before the 2013/14 season.

The Nets reportedly want to hire a GM before the trade deadline, which is two weeks from today. Assistant GM Frank Zanin has been running the front office since the team removed Billy King from the GM job nearly a month ago.

Nets Notes: Ferry, Cap Exception, Jackson

Danny Ferry is no longer a viable candidate for the Nets GM job, sources tell Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Lewis previously heard that Ferry wasn’t “the likeliest candidate” not long after the former Hawks and Cavs GM emerged as a contender, in spite of his support from former GM Billy King. The candidacy of John Calipari is on the wane, Lewis also hears, which jibes with earlier reports from Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck that Calipari wasn’t under serious consideration and from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, who wrote that owner Mikhail Prokhorov hadn’t shown a willingness to pay the $120MM over 10 years that Calipari reportedly wants. See more from Brooklyn:

  • It appears the NBA granted Brooklyn’s request for a disabled player exception to compensate for the loss of Jarrett Jack, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports indicates within a look at the team’s situation heading into the February 18th trade deadline. That would give the team a $3.15MM cap exception to sign, trade for or claim a player whose contract doesn’t run past this season.
  • The Nets felt as though the Thunder “bamboozled” them last year when negotiations on a trade involving Brook Lopez and Reggie Jackson fell apart in the final hour before the deadline, writes Mike Mazzeo of Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said Monday that he thought his team had no chance to trade for Jackson two weeks before the deadline-day swap that sent the point guard to Detroit, as Mazzeo relays.
  • Restricted free agents are more likely than longer-tenured unrestricted free agents to look for a team that will give them minutes and opportunities rather than a strong chance to win, arguest Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM, who suggests five soon-to-be restricted free agents the Nets should consider this summer.

Atlantic Notes: Wroten, Durant, Porzingis, Ferry

Tony Wroten would apparently like to sign with the Knicks, as evidenced by a pair of tweets he issued Monday night from his verified Twitter account. He said he hopes his chances of signing with the team are high, that he’d love to join Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, and that he’s dreamed of playing in Madison Square Garden. That seemingly counters a report that he was unlikely to end up with the Knicks and was looking for a team that would give him a better chance to stick around, but while the Knicks apparently have some interest, they’re reportedly concerned about his gambling style of defense. See more on the Knicks and other Atlantic Division news:

  • Count soon-to-be free agent Kevin Durant among the early fans of Porzingis, as Durant said to reporters Monday that he texted Knicks coach and former teammate Derek Fisher during the draft to tell him that he liked the pick, notes Royce Young of Porzingis has since won plaudits from across the league. “He can shoot, he can make the right plays, he can defend, he’s a 7-footer that can shoot all the way out to the 3-point line,” Durant said. “That’s rare. And block shots — that’s like a unicorn in this league.”
  • Nets GM Billy King is indeed stumping behind the scenes in the organization for Danny Ferry, his college teammate at Duke, to become the team’s next GM, according to Mike Mazzeo of The team is reportedly consulting King about his successor, but Mazzeo opines that Ferry, shrouded in controversy after the racially charged remarks he read from a scouting report in 2014, would be the wrong choice.
  • The Raptors have recalled Bruno Caboclo, Lucas Nogueira and Norman Powell from the D-League, the team announced (Twitter link). The team sent the trio to its Mississauga-based affiliate Friday.

Nets Consider Karnisovas, Rosas For GM Job

Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas and Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas have become serious candidates for the Nets GM vacancy, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. They join Bryan Colangelo and Danny Ferry, whom earlier reports identified as candidates. Karnisovas and Rosas have separated themselves from other candidates, Wojnarowski writes, but the Yahoo scribe also indicates that Colangelo and Ferry remain in “prominent consideration.” Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has so far not shown a willingness to lay out the 10-year, $120MM contract that John Calipari is seeking, according to Wojnarowski.

The Nets want to hire a GM before the February 18th trade deadline, which is three weeks from Thursday, and they plan to begin formal interviews early next month, Wojnarowski hears. Nets officials want a greater emphasis on international scouting, feeling as though the team lacked that under former GM Billy King, as Wojnarowski also reports, detailing the history that Karnisovas and Rosas have with players from overseas.

Karnisovas just signed an extension with Denver, though teams generally don’t stand in the way if someone in the organization seeks a higher-level job elsewhere.  Rosas thought that’s what he was doing when he left the Rockets to become Mavericks GM in 2013, but Dallas envisioned him as a clear subordinate to president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, and Rosas resigned just three months into the job. He returned to the Rockets two months after that. Karnisovas has strong relationships with Prokhorov associates, while Rosas is tight with coaches Tom Thibodeau, who’s already reportedly a candidate to become Brooklyn’s next head coach, and Jeff Van Gundy, according to Wojnarowski.

Nets Eye Danny Ferry For GM Job

FRIDAY, 8:31am: Ferry “isn’t the likeliest candidate” for the position, a source told Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

THURSDAY, 7:58am: The Nets are looking at Danny Ferry as they search for their next GM, sources tell Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). Bondy words his report a bit differently in his full story, where he writes that two sources outside the direct search told him they expect the team to look at Ferry as well as Bryan Colangelo, whom Marc Stein and Mike Mazzeo of reported earlier that the Nets are considering. Bondy’s tweet says the team is indeed looking at both Ferry and Colangelo. In any case, no one has emerged as the top candidate and the search has just begun, Bondy hears.

It’s no shock to see Ferry emerge as a candidate, as TNT’s David Aldridge pointed to the ties between Ferry and former GM Billy King, who remains with the organization. The Nets are indeed consulting King about the candidates to replace him in the GM job, Bondy hears from sources, confirming an earlier report that owner Mikhail Prokhorov had downplayed. Ferry’s father, Bob Ferry, serves as a scout for the Nets, and Prokhorov interviewed Danny Ferry for the GM job in 2010 before hiring King.

The younger Ferry comes with the baggage of the racially charged comments he uttered in a 2014 conference call while GM of the Hawks that led to a prolonged leave of absence and ultimately a buyout that ended his three-year tenure in Atlanta this past spring. Ferry nonetheless earned plaudits for his construction of last season’s 60-win Hawks team, and his close ties to the Spurs organization, where he served as a player and later a front office official, can’t hurt. He put together rosters that won 66 and 61 games in back-to-back years as GM of the Cavs, a job he held from 2005 to 2010.

John Calipari has also drawn mention as a candidate for the Nets’ front office vacancy as well as their open coaching job, but Prokhorov indicated that he’d rather have separate people in those positions. CEO Brett Yormark, a Calipari advocate, is one of three Nets officials conducting the search, according to Bondy, along with team chairman Dmitry Razumov and board member Sergey Kushchenko, who’s a trusted aide to Prokhorov. That conflicts with a report from Brian Windhorst of, who wrote that Razumov and Irina Pavlova, president of Prokhorov’s ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment holding company, were in charge of the search. In any case, Prokhorov wants to hire a GM before he hires a coach, league sources tell Bondy.

Do you think the Nets should hire Ferry? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Nets Notes: Prokhorov, King, Offseason

The Nets won’t be able to move forward as a franchise and avoid making similar roster errors until the front office and ownership admit to the mistakes they have made in the past, Howard Beck of Bleacher Report writes. Much of the blame for the state of the team should fall on the shoulders of owner Mikhail Prokhorov, whose bold prediction of winning a championship within five years of purchasing the team influenced a number of unsuccessful personnel moves, Beck notes. For his part, Prokhorov declines to acknowledge the flaw with mortgaging the team’s future for an opportunity to make a quick turnaround. “Frankly speaking, I deserve championship now much more than six years ago,” Prokhorov said, according to NetsDaily. “I think we have been really bold and did our best in order to reach championship. And I still believe with some luck, our results might have been more promising.

Here’s more from Brooklyn:

  • No franchise in the NBA has a worse long-term outlook than the Nets, whose lack of talent and future draft picks could prevent anyone the team hires to replace GM Billy King from making an impact, Tom Ziller and Paul Flannery of SB Nation opine. The two scribes note that Prokhorov is responsible for much of the mess Brooklyn finds itself in, but King does not escape the blame, and the duo point to the lack of protections placed on the franchise’s traded first round picks as examples of how the former GM failed in his duties.
  • The Nets sorely need for Prokhorov to maintain a more prominent presence around the team physically, and the owner’s absentee style has created a disjointed and dysfunctional organization, Ben Golliver of writes.
  • One strategy that the Nets would be wise to emulate going forward is that of the Sixers, who have acted as a clearinghouse for numerous player-friendly contracts over the years, and have acquired a number of future draft picks by doing so, Danny Leroux of The Sporting News posits. This strategy would be practical if the team were to strike out in free agency this summer and find itself left with a plethora of leftover cap space as a result, Leroux adds.