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Matt Riccardi, Nets Scouting Director and Long Island GM, leaving for Mavs job

Matt Riccardi who joined the Nets as an intern 13 years ago and rose to Director of Scouting Operations and Long Island Nets general manager, is leaving Brooklyn for Dallas and a senior position with the Mavericks.

Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news in a tweet...

Riccardi, 36, identified a number of prospects for Nets front offices, from Rod Thorn to Billy King to Sean Marks. Most famously, he pushed the Nets to sign Spencer Dinwiddie who was then toiling for the Windy City Bulls.

Riccardi is from Plano, Tex., a Dallas suburb, and graduated from the University of Texas at Tyler where he also received an MBA in finance. Riccardi’s rise was legendary in Nets lore, driving from Plano to East Rutherford, N.J. to interview ... for an intern’s job.

As Mike Mazzeo wrote for Forbes Sports Money two years ago:

Riccardi got in his car and drove more than 1,500 miles from his hometown of Plano, Texas, to North Jersey as he attempted to fulfill his ultimate goal of working in an NBA front office.

“Matt went above and beyond,” says Bobby Marks, who worked for the Nets for 20 years, also moving his way up the organizational ladder from unpaid intern to assistant GM. “He drove halfway across the country to get there. I had a lot of good interns, and I would say he’s probably the best one I’ve ever had.”

From intern in Thorn’s front office to director of scouting and Long Island GM in Sean Marks, Riccardi was a Nets lifer who was popular with generations of players. Among those who he recommended to higher-ups beyond Dinwiddie were Sean Kilpatrick, Yogi Ferrell, Theo Pinson, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Chris Chiozza.

The Dinwiddie find was laid out by Mazzeo in his February 2021 report.

As the assistant GM for Long Island under Trajan Langdon, Riccardi was on the team’s first road trip in Windy City when Dinwiddie posted 17 points and 11 assists against the G-League Nets on November 11, 2016.

Riccardi liked what he saw, and alerted others in the organization that they should go and see Dinwiddie play. Eighteen days later, Brooklyn’s entire coaching staff and front office was in attendance at Barclays Center when Dinwiddie posted 25 points and 12 assists in another standout G-League performance.

Dinwiddie was signed to contract days later. Now, of course, he plays for the Mavs.

“I think there was a conviction there (with Spencer),” Sean Marks told Mazzeo. “(Matt’s) a guy, when he’s on a player—and in particular with Spencer—he keeps pushing, and thankfully he did. We all knew Spencer, but somebody has to start that snowball, that ripple effect of ‘Where can we go with this particular player?’ In Matt’s case, he’s been right on a lot—and not just Spencer.”

Before that, Riccardi had been a confidant of Nets point guard Shawn Livingston, helping him through some tough times early in his time with the Nets. As Livingston recounted, Riccardi gave him a copy of “Siddhartha,” the novel by Hermann Hesse detailing a young man’s quest for enlightenment.

“Riccardi gave it to me,” Livingston said back in 2014. “I was going through [some struggles] in December. … I’m a thinker, and I was in my head. I was struggling, and I was struggling mentally more than anything, and that will carry over to the games.

“That was a great book, man. [It’s about] a guy kind of finding himself. … He had to go through the different experiences to find himself, because he was searching for peace. It was a great book.”

Livingston, as a backup and injury replacement for Deron Williams, became one of the Nets stalwarts that season.

Riccardi joins Jason Kidd, Sean Sweeney, Kidd’s assistant coach, and capologist Andrew Baker as former Nets front office staff who left Brooklyn for Dallas. Earlier this summer, the Nets lost another veteran member of the front office, assistant coach Jordan Ott who joined the Lakers.