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Woj: Nets have four "serious" candidates for GM position

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After firing Lionel Hollins and reassigning Billy King, the Nets are in the midst of looking for King's successor as GM, who will then lead the search for Hollins' replacement.. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports the Nets have four "serious" candidates emerging for the position.

"Two Western Conference executives have moved into prominent consideration with Bryan Colangelo and Danny Ferry for the Brooklyn Nets' general manager job, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Denver Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas and Houston Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas have emerged as serious candidates in the process

The Nets have expressed a desire to have a GM in place prior to the Feb. 18 trade deadline, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Formal interviews are expected to begin in early February.

So far, ownership has balked at the idea of paying Kentucky coach John Calipari the $120 million package he's seeking for a return to the NBA, league sources said."

Bryan Colangelo, the two-time Executive of the Year, is no surprise but Woj emphasizes the heavy backing he has, writing "Colangelo has strong backing at the highest reaches of the league office," meaning Adam Silver. Silver also pushed for Colangelo's farther, Jerry, to assume a top job in Philadelphia.

Nor does Danny Ferry, longtime friend of Billy King, who, as NetsDaily reported Sunday, is still "advising" the Nets on who migh be best as his successor, Woj reports.

Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas is seen as someone with ties to Prokhorov's inner circle as well as local ties, through his time at Seton Hall.

Karnisovas, a native of Lithuania, speaks several languages, including Russian, and has strong relationships with the members of owner Mikhail Prokhorov's extended sporting inner-circle. Karnisovas was a college star at Seton Hall University, and has polished a strong global basketball résumé that includes jobs in the NBA's league office, director of scouting with the Rockets' front office, and currently as assistant GM with the Nuggets. Karnisovas spent two years as USA Basketball's global basketball scout.

The final candidate listed is Gersson Rosas, Houston Rockets executive VP of basketball operations who has strong ties with what Woj describes as "two potential coaching" candidates, Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau. Obviously a close relationship between GM and coach is crucial.

In his 13th year with the Rockets, Rosas, a native of Bogota, Colombia, has been the franchise's Executive VP for five years and worked closely with GM Daryl Morey in remaking the roster and building a 2014-15 Western Conference finalist. Rosas played a prominent role in the Rockets' reshaping of the roster in the post-Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady era, when the franchise traded McGrady for multiple draft picks and built up the assets needed to acquire star James Harden via trade and lure Dwight Howard in free agency.

Rosas played a significant part in bringing Patrick Beverley from Europe as a free agent and drafting a future max-contract player, Chandler Parsons, with the 38th pick of the draft. During those years, Karnisovas was the Rockets' director of scouting.

Rosas has strong personal and working relationships with two potential coaching candidates, Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau. Both coaches worked with Rosas in Houston.

Rosas replaced Karnisovas - a former colleague with the Rockets - as the International Player Personnel Scout for USA Basketball in 2015.  Woj emphasized that "Karnisovas and Rosas fit the Nets' desire to have a more global scouting focus, something ownership believes was lacking under the previous regime."  Also, it should be noted that Colangelo won executive of the year in Toronto by adding established international players like Anthony Parker and Jorge Garbajosa to the roster.

This is not the first time Woj has mentioned Rosas.  Three days after the staff changes, he praised Rosas' record on the Vertical Podcast....

"I think if you’re going to bring in a coach of that ilk it’s got to be with an executive they have a relationship with. I’ll throw out an example, both Thibs and Van Gundy worked with Gersson Rosas in Houston who was an younger executive there. Where they packaged an aging Tracy McGrady for assets; they traded Kyle Lowry who was really a third string there and got a guaranteed lottery pick for him. Bring in Partrick Beverly overseas for a very low number – he becomes a starter. Chandler Parsons –he is a 2nd round pick, he was the SEC player of the year. And Parsons becomes a max player a big part of the infrastructure that allowed them to lure Dwight Howard. They built an infrastructure and made it impossible for Howard to think he had a better chance of winning elsewhere. If you’re going to bring in that big coach and that relationship is so important between the coach and the front office."

John Calipari also seems to be out of the running after reportedly seeking a deal worth $120 million.

All are interesting candidates with different things to bring to the table. Colangelo seems to be in the front-runner, but if Billy King is still in the Russians' ears, then anything can happen. Not to mention if they're serious about a coach like Thibodeau, bringing in those close to him might held in putting together a package.

Woj reports that the Nets would like to have King's replacement signed by the February 18 trade deadline, which might imply that they want to be on the phones. Doubtful they make any moves, but it's not helping their cause that they're without a GM.  Billy King was reassigned on Janaury 10th.