Billy King takes swipe at Knicks — ahem, “local” — management

Andrea Bargnani Bargnani is a bit different from the three guys before him. Ellington, Larkin, and Robinson are all looking to find their NBA footing after things went south; at this point, Bargnani can only hope to prove his doubters wrong. He's still trying to find his NBA footing, but only after belief in his potential came, went, and then got pile-drived deep into the earth's core. There is not a single metric that justifies signing Andrea Bargnani to an NBA contract. He is a seven-foot center who does not defend or rebound at an NBA level. He is a stretch five that has hit well below the league average from three-point range in the last four seasons. It's hard to tell what's more laughable, his defensive rating (worst on last year's lowly Knicks), or the GIFs that show it. Bargnani has never lived up to his billing as a top overall pick in 2006, coming closest during a career-best season in 2010-11, when he averaged 21.5 points per game for the 22-60 Toronto Raptors. But if there's any silver lining here, it's this: Bargnani, who did not seem to enjoy rising to expectations, now has less expectations than ever. He's in Andray Blatche territory. Anything good he does will be a bonus. Anything else? Well, he's on a minimum deal, with no set rotation spot, and a few young guns (Robinson, Willie Reed, to name two) chomping at the bit for backup big minutes. He has the stability of a minor guaranteed contract and $72 million in career NBA earnings, but the pressure of needing to prove he belongs to stay on the floor. Is that enough? Well, probably not. Remember, we're talking about a player who posted the worst on-off court impact on the second-worst team in the NBA, who has struggled to stay healthy in recent years. But anything is possible... right?
Andrea Bargnani
Andrea Bargnani (AP)
Andrea Bargnani (AP)

The Nets & Knicks rivalry is about as fun as a doorstop these days, but that didn’t stop Nets GM Billy King from taking a dig at the Knicks front office Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier this summer, an interview with Knicks president Phil Jackson was released in which Jackson critiqued his players and their performance. That included current Nets Shane Larkin and Andrea Bargnani: Jackson said, among other things, that Larkin had “tiny hands” and Bargnani was “a big tease.”

But when asked about the doubt from afar cast on his team’s new backups — who have come from far and wide before landing in Brooklyn this offseason — King said he just wanted his players to be themselves.

“We don’t want our guys out to prove something to someone else,” King said. “Just play what you’re able to do and prove to yourself. Don’t worry about the outside. We have a lot of guys that have so-called been knocked around by local management in other organizations but they don’t have to prove it to them.”

Bargnani and Larkin don’t come to the Nets with high expectations. But he hopes that the two can have a fresh start, with some grounding, in Brooklyn.

“We’re not looking backwards with him, we’re looking forward,” King said of Bargnani. “That’s something we told him when we reached out and tried to get him to come here, is you can have a fresh start. We’re not looking at anything you did in Toronto, anything you did in the Knicks. We’re looking at you to come in and be a part of the team. … Don’t worry about living up to anybody else’s expectations but yours.”

As for Larkin, King repeated what he’d said in July about the 5’11” guard: he called him at midnight on July 1st, the first moment he could, to recruit him to Brooklyn. “I said to Shane, just be who you were coming out of Miami and you’ll be fine.”