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Billy King on Brook Lopez: No plan to put any restrictions on him

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Brooklyn Nets

Billy King was on SiriusXM Radio's Starting Lineup Monday morning and in his clearest statement yet on Brook Lopez's return, said there's no plan for minutes restrictions on the 7-foot center following his foot reconstruction surgery.

In the past, King has said he expects to talk with the team's medical and training staff in training camp about Lopez's playing time, but the Nets are increasingly optimistic about his return

Specifically, here's what King said...

"Right now, there is no plan to put any restrictions on him, but I think as we do with all players through the preseason -- whether you’re looking at KG or Deron, who’s coming off of ankle injuries -- you build them up. You get them ready for the opening day of the season, but you’re really getting them ready for January, February, March and April. So I look at it like climbing a ladder throughout the season when you have veteran players. But I know Lionel is gonna push all these guys and challenge them physically. And whatever doctors allow Brook and Deron to do, Lionel is going to push them to that point."

King's comment about Lopez's loss dooming the Nets title chances last season is a long-held opinion in both management and ownership. Despite the team's great comeback in 2014, the Nets had little chance to go deep in the playoffs without him, they believe.

As for team's other injured All-Star, King expressed optimism in the interview about Deron Williams return as well.

"As soon as the season was over, he took advantage of things. He met with doctors, they made the recommendation. He took care of it and mentally and physically, he's hit it and I think he's ready to go. He's out to prove that he is still one of the elite point guards in the league. And I think that's going to benefit us as well...

"Lionel remembers that Deron Williams because he coached against him when he was in Utah. So he's ready for the challenge to get him back to that level."

The Nets GM also talked about the team's other seven-footer and his experience with Team USA.

And he admitted that Plumlee surprised him last summer ... just he is surprising Team USA this summer.

King also said he likes what he sees from Lionel Hollins, adding that the Nets' new head coach reminds him of someone he worked with a long time ago.

As for his old coach and mentor, Mike Krzyzewski, King said the big beneficiary of Coach K's Team USA experience may be Duke.

And once again, he said he expects Kevin Garnett back. "He's planning on being back. We expect him when the season starts," King told Frank Isola and Stacey King. "I know he's working out. He started sooner than he did last year because his body felt better than it did before."