Less than 24 hours after the February 21, 2012 NBA Trade Deadline, Nets GM Billy King went on Ryan Ruocco and Stephen A. Smith’s radio show on ESPN 98.7 FM to discuss all things Nets. Here’s what they discussed.
King started off the interview telling the duo that it was good they put the Duke guy in front of the Carolina guy, referring to Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak’s interview later in the program. When King was asked how he felt following the passing of the deadline, King stated that he felt good, noting that while there is always a big buildup for the deadline, he sensed leading up to it that there wasn’t going to be a lot of moves, “especially in the big names.” That’s why Billy set the odds of any deal getting done at 10%, a figure he lowered to 5% as the deadline neared.
When asked why he thought there wasn’t a lot of movement league-wide at the deadline, the third year GM responded that teams just felt what they were getting in return for expiring contracts wasn’t worth it. Citing Utah and Atlanta as specific examples, King said the Jazz and Hawks didn’t mind losing expiring contracts because it cleared cap space for the teams to make moves in the offseason.
King refused to talk about Josh Smith, or any specific deal, saying that while many people didn’t believe his 10% figure, he was in fact being “real.” On the topic of Brooklyn’s Backcourt, Billy admitted Deron Williams and Joe Johnson weren’t putting up their career averages, but as a collective unit they had produced a team that was only 1 game back in the Atlantic Division race.
Asked if he was worried about the long term health of his franchise point guard, King responded, “Not at all.” When Stephen A followed up with whether Deron could be the “leader and face of the franchise for years to come,” Billy responded that he had the “utmost confidence and faith” in D-Will.
Things then took a turn for the Dwight. Ruocco asked a leading question about doing a sign and trade in the off-season as luxury cap team, to which Billy responded, “I don’t understand your question. Go ahead, ask a direct question, instead of being vague.”
Ruocco then laughed and said “we’re all alluding to Dwight.” Billy quipped, “I’m surprised it took you four questions, I thought it would be the first question,” to which Ruocco added “we were just trying to soften you up.” King then brought a bit of pragmatism to the sign and trade discussion saying, “If you’re over the cap, the only way you can do it is get under the tax” and went on to say that he’ll worry about off-season moves when the season ends.
Stephen A Smith followed with “This is not a question about Dwight Howard” which induced laughter from King, before Smith went on to ask a question…about Dwight Howard. Stephen A wanted to know what Billy had to say about balancing the increased productivity of Brook Lopez and his teammate’s support of him with having an owner that wants to make a “splash” like landing Dwight Howard.
“I feel like this reality show will never end,” King said, and went on to reveal the most shocking detail of the interview, that he is a Young and the Restless fan. An apoplectic Smith responded, Young and the Restless?! Not General Hospital?! We gotta talk, but go ahead.” King then compared the Dwightmare to a soap opera where the “writer keeps re-writing the script. The character died off;nope, nope he’s still breathing.”
After Billy re-iterated that he and the Nets are focusing on the season, not Dwight or anything else, the questions got interactive. Ruocco relayed Nets twitter fans’ concern about Brooks and Teletovic playing time. In the course of a standard answer referencing the depth of the team, Billy revealed that Joe Johnson would be out tonight with a heel injury.
As for his teams chances the rest of the way, Billy said they had “horrendous games” against Miami but played well against the rest of the league. So all they can do is “keep focusing on getting better, and if we play Miami, see what we can do against them.” When the topic of PJ’s job status came up, Billy gave the standard party line that it is his job for the rest of the year. Asked if it would be fair to say that it is Carlesimo’s job to lose, Billy said, “That would be fair to say.”
Near the end of the interview, Billy suggested that Stephen A should do a game as a color commentator along with Ryan Ruocco’s play-by-play call. Stephen A said it would have to be a three man booth, as he wasn’t qualified to be in a two man booth, to which Billy incredulously responded, “Stephen, I’ve never heard you say you weren’t qualified to do anything.” Smith concluded, “There’s a first time for everything.”