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As season ends in disappointing fashion, heat's on Billy King

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Billy King will give his assessment of the Nets recent past and immediate future Wednesday morning.  It's the basic State of the Team, post-season address and Q&A session with beat reporters.

But in the days leading up to that, King is taking it on the chin from pundits.  Tom Ziller of SB Nation, Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports and Mitch Lawrence now writing for NBC New York after a long career with the Daily News among others are slamming the Nets GM and his work product, the Nets roster.

Of the three, Dwyer is the hardest on King. In a Monday column, Dwyer basically absolves Mikhail Prokhorov (and Dmitry Razumov) of any guilt in the Nets demise.  He puts the blame squarely on the veteran GM. He starts right at the top of the story.

The team’s general manager, the hilarious Billy King, may have been tasked with spending as much money as he could right away, but there are dozens of general manager candidates that would be better suited to build a win-now stunner. Yes, King’s Rolodex is stuffed with good contacts, but when other teams know that you’re in the business of dumping assets for current relief, you’d be shocked at how many numbers start reaching out to you.

Dwyer goes after King's decisions, big and small.

[T]his is on Billy King. At no point during any of this run, starting back in Newark and working up to the team’s first round loss from Friday, did any sound basketball mind hear word of a Billy King deal and think … "nice' ...

He saw no reason to put protection on his draft picks or pay attention to the shifting NBA culture, and as a result the Nets will enter 2020 after spending an entire decade as the NBA’s laughingstock. The franchise that seemed set to Jay-Z its’ way into acting as the NBA’s hottest – LeBron-wielding, cash-spending, cachet-having – team has the biggest hole to dig out of as any NBA team

Ziller's headline leaves little to the imagination... "The Nets are the most hopeless franchise in the NBA." He doesn't even mention King, just his work product.

Plenty of NBA teams fail miserably. At least for most fans, there's a bright light to wake you in the morning. A promising young star like Andrew Wiggins, a reliable beast like DeMarcus Cousins and a bucket full of ping pong balls heading into the lottery.

That's not the case in Brooklyn. What an incredible failure.

Lawrence, who has covered New York basketball for decades, quotes a King counterpart on the lack of a market for the team's two biggest contracts.

"Both of them are unmovable,’’ one Eastern Conference GM told me during the first-round playoffs series. "They might try to trade to both of them, but who wants those guys? It looks like they’re stuck with them again.’’


Then, there's Mike Vaccaro's season-ending valedictory in which he called the Nets "disgraceful" and their season "rancid."  He put the onus on King's big hiring, that of Lionel Hollins who the Post writer slams for praising his team for simply making the playoffs, not succeeding in them.  He describes Hollins this way...

Just another room-temperature Net who wants you to credit them for victories that never come, for success that has never manifested. They have now played four playoff series in three years in Brooklyn, lost three of them. Twice, they were eliminated at Barclays Center.

King has his work cut out for him. Dwyer thinks Brook Lopez and maybe Thaddeus Young will be gone, even suggests Lopez should leave.  If that happens, the Nets would be screwed, for want of a better word. But when King talks Wednesday, expect him to be optimistic. The question is whether that will be realistic.