Over the weekend, Stefan Bondy wrote a nice profile of Nets GM Billy King.
Some of the highlights:
Success or failure for the first Brooklyn Nets team will always have its roots in 36 frenzied hours in February of 2011. King, just seven months into his stint as GM, was sitting on his couch when he received the phone call that drastically changed the course of both New York basketball teams: Carmelo Anthony was headed to the Knicks.
King had fought hard to acquire Anthony, fearlessly pursuing a superstar despite being fully aware it was an uphill battle from the start. He coveted the same combo as the Knicks: an Anthony/Chris Paul tandem to compete with the Miami Heat’s power trio.
In the end, however, James Dolan won the bidding with his own army of assets. The call from Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, was hard to swallow.
“I was down,” he says. “Definitely.”
The next morning King boarded his regular Amtrak train from Philadelphia to New Jersey, recalling a lesson learned from his mentor, Krzyzewski. “You can’t dwell on taking a bad shot,” King reminded himself, “You have to go to the next play.”
King received a phone call from O’Connor, who wanted to cheer up his former colleague from the 76ers. In a matter of hours, that consoling conversation on a cell phone morphed into a trade for Williams, one of the top point guards in the league.
“I just threw something out at (O’Connor): ‘would you do this?’ ” King says. “He said, ‘No, no, can’t do that. But let me look at that and I’ll get back to you.’ With all the things he said no to, he didn’t say no to Deron. So in my mind, I’m like, ‘OK, he didn’t say no to Deron and that’s what I’m trying to get.’ We went back and forth.
“By four or five o’clock, (O’Connor) says, ‘Look, I talked to my owner, we have a deal, but I want to sleep on it. And it can’t get out.’ Very few people knew. But I told my wife. I said, ‘I think we’re going to get Deron Williams tomorrow.’ She didn’t believe me.”
“Deron and Allen (Iverson), they’re different people in terms of the things they do,” King says. “But at the end of the day, they both want to win. That’s what I always go back to because if we win, that’s how we’re going to keep Deron.
“It’s not about him liking me or liking Brooklyn, it’s about giving him a chance to win.”