In a series of new hires officially announced Thursday, the Long Island Nets have named J.R. Holden general manager, Ronnie Burrell head coach and Matt MacDonald assistant general manager. The first two had been identified in previous reports. MacDonald’s hire is new.
“J.R., Ronnie and Matt bring extensive experience to Long Island, and we’re thrilled to have them lead the Long Island Nets,” said Sean Marks in a press release. “They have all grown tremendously as individuals during their time in the Nets organization and have shown what it takes to identify and develop promising players throughout their careers. We look forward to seeing how they’ll shape the next generation of prospects that play on Long Island.”
Holden, who becomes the third general manager in team history, comes to Long Island after spending the past three seasons as director of pro personnel, primarily a scouting position, for the Nets. He originally joined the Nets after spending the 2018-19 season as a scout with the 76ers. Prior to the stint with the Sixers, he spent four years with the Pistons as an international and college scout (2014-16), and the franchise’s director of international scouting (2016-18).
Additionally, Holden holds overseas basketball experience where he played 13 professional seasons overseas (1998-2011), including nine years (2002-11) with CSKA Moscow, where he was part of nine straight Russian League championship teams. Holden also appeared in eight straight EuroLeague Final Fours, winning two titles, and was named to the EuroLeague’s 2001-10 All-Decade Team. The Bucknell University alumnus became a Russian citizen in 2003 by presidential decree so he could play for Russia in the FIBA EuroBasket 2007 championship. Holden and former Net Andrei Kirilenko led Russia to an upset of Spain in the title game, Holden hitting the winning bucket with two seconds left.
Burrell, who becomes the sixth head coach in team history, rejoins the Nets organization after spending the 2019-20 season as an assistant coach with Long Island and the 2018-19 season as a player development and video assistant with Brooklyn.
He spent the 2021-22 season as an assistant coach with the College Park Skyhawks in the NBA G League and the previous season as a player development coordinator with the Chicago Bulls.
Before joining the Nets in 2018, Burrell worked as a graduate assistant with the men’s basketball team at Florida Atlantic University while earning his Master of Business Administration. The Montclair, N.J., native previously played 11 professional seasons (2005-2016) in France, Germany and Poland after a four-year collegiate playing career (2001-05) at UNC Greensboro.
Holden replaces Matt Riccardi who has moved on to the Dallas Mavericks after more than a decade with the Nets. Burrell replaces Adam Caporn who was promoted to assistant coach. MacDonald replaces Matt Tellem who is now the Nets full-time capologist.
MacDonald, who becomes the third assistant general manager in team history, spent the last two seasons as scouting operations coordinator for the Brooklyn Nets. He originally joined the Nets during the 2018-19 season as a basketball operations assistant. Prior to his professional career, MacDonald played two collegiate seasons (2013-15) at Fairleigh Dickinson before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named team captain for his final two seasons (2016-18).
No word on who the Long Island Nets will name to assistant coaching duties.