The Brooklyn Nets have gotten off to their worst start since moving to Brooklyn, having lost each of their first seven games. An injury to Brook Lopez exacerbated fears that the team would struggle to cobble together any decent performances with a tough road schedule ahead.
Worse, the team does not control its first-round pick this season, no matter how bad the year gets. That means the Nets could end up giving a top-5 pick to the Boston Celtics when all is said and done.
Nets general manager Billy King, speaking with reporters Monday afternoon, said as much. Per Mike Mazzeo of ESPN:
“I’m not sitting in here shirking accountability. … It stops at me. I’m the GM. You make decisions along the way, and it’s my job now to figure it out and turn it around. … It doesn’t happen overnight. We knew when we traded (the first-round) picks and went down this road (for Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce) that if it doesn’t go well you have to dig yourself out of it, and that’s what we’re doing now.”
King is no stranger to making trades. He, under the guidance of ownership, orchestrated the deals that acquired Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Garnett, and Pierce. The Nets sent out a total of seven first-round draft picks, two first-round pick swaps, and two additional players they’d selected in the first round (Derrick Favors & MarShon Brooks) to acquire those five players. Of those five players, only Johnson remains on the roster.
With the Nets reeling, King said there might be more moves in store, per multiple reporters:
Billy King admitted he's made some exploratory calls in case #Nets keep heading down this path. Knows they may have to do something.
— Rod Boone (@rodboone) November 9, 2015
The Nets don’t have many pieces that look attractive on the trade market. Their next first-round draft pick eligible for trade is in 2020, and King has said in the past he’s no longer interested in trading away picks. Teams may covet Thaddeus Young, but he’s in the first year of a four-year contract, and the team has gone from bad to worse without him next to Lopez. Lopez is their undisputed best player, but is on a three-year max deal and his injury history might scare teams away. Of their young players Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris McCullough, Sergey Karasev, Markel Brown, Shane Larkin, and Thomas Robinson, only Robinson was a lottery pick, and he fell to the Nets in free agency after underperforming expectations.
But they may be forced to do something, with the season spiraling out of control.
King added that Nets coach Lionel Hollins, in the second year of his contract, was not on the hot seat — at least, not more than anyone else in the organization.
“Shoot, I’m in the last year of my deal, too,” King said, per ESPN. “And that’s why I think I said before it’s not just Lionel. We’re all in this together.”