The Nets promised a thorough search for a GM and Mikhail Prokhorov promised he would be in on the key interviews. So far, they are sticking to that script, Alex Raskin of the Wall Street Journal reports.
He writes Saturday that while the Nets may be down to a "short list", as Prokhorov told ESPN Wednesday, "no specific deadline is in place" and there may even be more interviews this week when Prokhorov returns to Brooklyn this week to open the $50 million HSS Training Center. There has been speculation that the Nets would like have to their new GM on hand for the grand opening of the training facility ... and the deadline. But no confirmation.
Whether it's because the team is in crisis or he's now fully in charge, Prokhorov appears to be taking a strong interest in the search process. He was on hand for all the interviews earlier this week and will lead any additional interviews, Raskin writes.
"[As ]one source confirmed, the Russian billionaire is expected to be personally involved with the process of interviewing GM candidates while in town next week."
The lack of a specific deadline and another round of interviews means the Nets are unlikely to be active at the trade deadline, which is Thursday, Raskin adds.
"There remains a chance that the team will hire its next GM in the coming days but, according to the source, no specific deadline is in place. And as usual, major moves are unlikely to happen around Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game in Toronto—a game that will be played without any members of the 14-40 Nets," he wrote on Saturday.
Frank Zanin, Billy King's assistant GM, is nominally in charge, but he has to run everything past Moscow, specifically Prokhorov and the Nets chairman, Dmitry Razumov. In fact, even if the Nets hadn't fired Lionel Hollins and "reassigned" Billy King, big deals were unlikely. Prokhorov has it clear repeatedly that he wants to build around the core. As Howard Beck tweeted Friday, he may not veto any big trade talks, but he is "reluctant" to trade Brook Lopez.or Thaddeus Young.
Raskin also notes that candidates who appear to be the "short list" --Bryan Colangelo, Arturas Karnisovas and Sean Marks-- are all very much involved in international basketball. Karnisovas played for Lithuania in the Olympics, as did Sean Marks for New Zealand. Both had found diamonds in the rough overseas. Colangelo, who still lives in Toronto, turned the Suns and Raptors around with a quick infusion of international talent, both in the front office and on the roster.
"The candidates have varying degrees of front-office experience, but all share one characteristic with the Nets’ owner: a solid background in international basketball," notes Raskin. "That is not an accident. Without full control of a first-round draft pick until 2019, the Nets’ immediate future will depend on their next general manager’s ability to obtain talent using atypical methods. As always, it is best to emulate the San Antonio Spurs, a team with an uncanny ability to unearth useful players without the apparent assets to do so."