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.
"Missing (Brook Lopez) didn't allow us to go further (last season)..right now, there isn't a plan to put any restrictions on him." @bkdefend— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) August 18, 2014
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.
Billy King (@bkdefend) talked about how @masonplumlee's experience with Team USA will help him learn how to score and defend in the post.— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) August 18, 2014
And he admitted that Plumlee surprised him last summer ... just he is surprising Team USA this summer.
"I expected Mason to play in the D-League w/the roster we had but when he got the minutes, he took advantage." -@bkdefend on @masonplumlee— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) August 18, 2014
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.
"Spending time w/@HollinsLionel reminded me of when I was asst. coach under Larry Brown, I'm excited he's going to push these guys"@bkdefend— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) August 18, 2014
As for his old coach and mentor, Mike Krzyzewski, King said the big beneficiary of Coach K's Team USA experience may be Duke.
"He enjoys the challenge of molding these teams over the summer. It helps him get better when he returns to Duke"@bkdefend on mentor Coach K— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) August 18, 2014
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."
- Billy King joined The Starting Lineup to discuss this upcoming season for his Brooklyn Nets (Audio) - Frank Isola & Stacey King - SiriusXM Radio
- Billy King joined The Starting Lineup to give his thoughts on Team USA and Coach K (Audio) - Frank Isola & Stacey King - SiriusXM Radio
- NBA King: No restrictions placed on Lopez - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Can Lionel Hollins get Deron Williams back on track? - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Burning Q's: Can Brooklyn rebound? - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Nets GM says loss of Brook Lopez didn’t help last season’s success - Kurt Helin - NBC Sports
Billy King: losing Brook Lopez didn't make Nets better - Brooklyn Eagle Sports