Billy King runs what could be called an opportunistic front office. When opportunity knocks, he usually wants to open the door wide.
--When Kevin O'Connor called him to offer him solace after the MeloDrama, the conversation quickly turned to Deron Williams availability. Overnight, the deal came together.
--When he called his old Duke teammate, Danny Ferry, to congratulate him on his new job as Hawks GM, Ferry asked if he was interested in Joe Johnson. That deal got done even faster.
--And when King's assistant, Bobby Marks, and Mike Zarren, Marks' counterpart on the Celtics, came up with a deal to bring Paul Pierce to the Nets, King with the support of ownership expanded it into the mega-deal that brought Kevin Garnett (and Jason Terry) to the Nets ... and sent a trio of highly valued picks to Boston.
Things don't always work out. The Nets are stuck with a lot of salary and maybe as much as $92 million in luxury taxes this July and the threat of the repeater tax next July. The Dwightmare's end brought what many saw as a series of panic moves: trading a top six pick for Gerald Wallace, then giving him $40 million over four.
Now, King is generally perceived as having very few assets and virtually no flexibility going forward. The Nets have no picks in what could be the Draft of the Decade.
But as Tim Bontemps points out, that's basically how people saw the Nets situation a year ago this week. "Like last summer, King heads into this off-season with what seems to be limited flexibility," he writes in a season review of King's job. "But King likely find a way to trade for a pick, and after last summer’s draft night dealings, don’t put it past him to shake things up with another bigger deal."
Of course, there are more restraints this summer. The Nets don't have a pick of their own, first or second round until 2018, when they have second rounder. They have first round picks in 2015 and 2017 but if their pick is higher than the Hawks in 2015, it goes to Atlanta and if their pick is higher than the Celtics in 2017, it goes to Boston. Moreover, no matter how rich or how committed Mikhail Prokhorov and Dmitry Razumov are to the team, the repeater tax could add tens of millions to their operating costs next year. Moreover, the Nets don't want to take on any new salary if they don't have to, in 2016 when free agents like Kevin Durant will be available.
Mike Mazzeo, in his review of King's job, also thinks King could make a big move and quotes the GM as basically saying, don't worry, be happy. "I don’t look at it as the sky is falling as much as we have some assets and things we can do and we’ll look at it."
We'll be watching.
- With few summer options, Nets GM may plot another blockbuster - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Nets offseason breakdown: Billy King - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York