Billy King, Lionel Hollins had dinner Monday night in New York

Twitter/WNBC

At his meeting with media Monday, a remarkably restrained Billy King thanked Jason Kidd, said he and his former head coach "butted" heads but that he believed Kidd had done "an amazing job",  and added he found comfort that fans like Mr. Whammy will stay with the team through thick and thin. But the big news was that he disclosed he and Lionel Hollins had dinner on Monday.

Sam Amick reported Monday that the Nets had sent a plane for Hollins to accelerate the process ... and show him that their interest is serious.

King also said the search began even before he met Hollins.

King did say he hoped to hire a coach soon, but  also noted he can see himself meeting with other head coaching candidates. He praised Hollins as a veteran coach and noted how the Grizzlies had gotten better every year during his tenure. He said as well, this time, rookies need not apply.

The Nets GM was remarkably gracious about Kidd, saying he's sorry it had to end "this way." He admitted this was a "bump" for the franchise but thinks they can recover quickly.  He said he only found out about the Kidd power play on Wednesday, the day before the HSS Center press conference ... and the NBA Draft.

On free agency, King admitted there are cap space issues to be addressed but the team's financial losses won't effect decision making.

But he said there will be no hard feelings if free agents do leave.

He admitted that the team did not reach out to Andray Blatche after midnight as he did with Livingston, Paul Pierce and Alan Anderson.

He disclosed as well that he had met with Pierce last month and found "a lot of positives," adding that in recent days, he's been keeping both Pierce and Kevin Garnett informed of what's going on with the organization in the wake of Kidd's power play and departure.  Marc Stein wrote that  among teams pursuing Pierce, "Brooklyn... really only fears the Clippers."  At least one team, the Bulls, see Pierce as a back-up if their top target decides to go elsewhere. In the Bulls' case, that's Carmelo Anthony.

Of Jeff Schwartz, who represents everyone from Kidd to Livingston, King said their relationship is intact. "It's business, not personal."

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