Randy Ayers, former head coach with the 76ers and assistant with the Pelicans, Magic and Wizards, and Robert Bender, a former assistant coach with the Bucks, Hawks and 76ers, have been named scouts for the Nets.
Both have extensive ties with Billy King. Ayers was named to the position of college scout, while Bender was named pro scout. The Nets have had a college scouting position open since T.J. Zanin, brother of assistant GM Frank Zanin, left to take the head scout job with the Hornets this summer.
King hired Ayers as head coach of the 76ers in 2003 but Ayers lasted only one year. He had previously served as 76ers assistant coach under Larry Brown and King, having been on the staff in 2001 when Philly made it to the NBA Finals. Most recently, he had a five-year stint as an assistant coach with the Pelicans, including serving the last four years as the team’s lead assistant coach under Monty Williams. Williams was let go over the summer.. Ayers also served as head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes prior to joining the 76ers, winning national coach of the year honors in 1991.
Bender's ties to King go back to Duke, where he served as an assistant under Mike Krzyzewski from 1983 to 1989. King was among those he coached at Durham. Bender then took the head coaching job at Illinois State, hiring King as his assistant. From Illinois State, he went to the University of Washington, where he directed the Huskies to four consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament from 1996 to 1999. Bender was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 1996. King and he crossed paths again in Philly. Between 2002 and 2004, when he served as the 76ers assistant coach/player development, then as an assistant coach, along with Ayers. Most recently, he was an assistant in Atlanta and Milwaukee under Larry Drew, who was replaced by Jason Kidd. Bender is the only NCAA player to ever play for two different teams in the Finals, first with Indiana on Bobby Knight's undefeated team in 1976, then with Duke two years later.