A new book by Daily News basketball writer Filip Bondy says the Nets came very close to trading both their picks in the 2006 draft along with a "future choice" in attempt to grab Hilton Armstrong, the 6'11" UConn teammate of the two players they ultimately did pick, Marcus Williams and Josh Boone. Talks were ongoing as the draft began that night, but the Sonics ultimately went with Saer Sene. Armstrong was ultimately picked by the Hornets with the 12th pick.
In the epilogue to his "Tip Off: How the 1984 Draft Changed Basketball Forever", Bondy writes about how Rod Thorn, the man who picked Jordan, played the 2006 draft.
"There was another possible exchange with Seattle, which owned the number 10 pick overall," writes Bondy. "The Nets planned to send their two first-round picks and another future choice to the Sonics, and then draft Hilton Armstrong at number 10. The Sonics were interested in Shannon Brown from Michigan State and hoped they could still select him [at number 22].
"Thorn kept trying to convince Seattle officials they could get Brown that low, and in the end, Brown slipped all the way to Cleveland at number 25. But that was not really why the Sonics balked. ‘We were in the draft before they said they weren't going to do it,’ Thorn said. ‘They were considering it. The reason they stuck with the pick was because of this 6-11 guy with a 9-5 reach [Saer Sene]. How could they pass on him, even though they already had two young centers? He's going to have value.’
Williams and Boone both had better years than Armstrong or Sene, with both logging more minutes than either of the two. Bondy also notes that Williams refused to audition for the Nets prior to the draft and that the team's internal projections had him going as high as #7 but no lower than #15.
Bondy also quotes Thorn as saying Williams' performance in last year's summer league had him thinking of playing the 6'3" point guard alongside of Kidd.
"What he did that surprised us in Orlando is he shot the hall well from outside. He was always a good free throw shooter, but he shoots three-pointers very easily. It gives you the opportunity to at least think you can play him with Jason Kidd, because he can make shots."