During the preseason game last night between the Brooklyn Nets and the Miami Heat, Brooklyn General Manager Billy King talked with NBA.com's David Aldridge about Mikhail Prokhorov's willingness to spend, the hiring of Jason Kidd, a potential rivalry with the Heat, and team flexibility going forward.
Here's the full transcript:
David Aldridge: I'm here now with Nets general manager Billy King. Billy, you have the GDP of a small island nation on your team salary now. I'm just amazed at the commitment that your owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, has made to this team. Not just bringing in Pierce and Garnett, and Jason Terry, but the other moves. Whether it was Kirilenko, or signing Shaun Livingston, even an Alan Anderson. Were you amazed that every time you went to them they said yes?
Billy King: Uh, not really because we talked about getting certain players and we put it on paper. And the one thing that I always knew is that (Prokhorov) would be willing to spend if it made sense. He's not gonna spend foolishly, but if it makes sense, he's gonna spend money.
David Aldridge: What, in your mind, was the one thing you needed after last season? What was the thing that was lacking in your team?
Billy King: Well, I think we really needed some leadership to show us really how to get to a Championship. And I think we had some good players, but we needed somebody to help us get over the hump in Game 7 and things like that. And, bringing in a KG, and a Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry, they help bring that Championship caliber experience that we needed.
David Aldridge: It is, it's one thing to put a team like that together. But it's another thing to turn it over to someone who's never coached before [Aldridge and King laugh]. So, I mean, what was the thought process when you thought Jason Kidd was a good fit for this team?
Billy King: When we first sat down and talked, you know, just listening to him talk about the team. He was talking about what he would have done in certain games, how we would use the lineup, how he wanted to play, and a lot of the things he talked about were things that I believed in. And, so, we had a two and a half - three hour conversation the first time, and I walked away believing. And then, so we talked again, and then I was convinced.
David Aldridge: He really kind of recruited you as opposed to the other way around right?
Billy King: [nods head in agreement] He did, he did, and you know his agent Jeff Schwartz reached out, and originally I said 'No.' I said "No, there's no way." Ownership said it, I said "No way." And then they said "Just meet with him," and I did, and I'm glad I did.
David Aldridge: Do you think now that, with this team including some of the expatriate Celtics, that there's a burgeoning rivalry with this Heat team?
Billy King: Well, you know, they're the Champions, so anytime you have somebody like them that's won back-to-backs, you try to knock them off. But I think Paul brings a little bit of edge from the series, KG brings a little bit of that edge. So, you know, I think it can develop, but until we get to the level of beating them in the regular season, and then I think the rivalry will start.
David Aldridge: And, for people who look just at the bottom line, you obviously have a huge expenditure this year, and a big one next year, but you really are kind of set up for the future if you wanna make other moves in a year or two right?
Billy King: Well, and that's the thing. Actually that's really why we did this deal is to get ourselves out of the repeater tax, which we will be after two years. But also to get ourselves in position for when: KG retires and when Paul [inaudible due to the PA announcer] to be able to add. Brook Lopez at that point would be 27 years old, Deron Williams will be in his early 30s, so we can add to the roster and continue to build.
David Aldridge: Well, it won't be dull here, that is for sure here in Brooklyn this year. Billy, thanks for joining us.
Billy King: Thank you.
David Aldridge: Alright. Back to you Marv.
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