It was basically inevitable that Billy King would join the New Jersey Nets after Rod Thorn’s departure, what with the famous Nets-Sixers Executive Swap Program (King, Thorn, and Ed Stefanski have all worked for both organizations), and it didn’t appear to be the greatest move. King had already earned the reputation of being a figurehead in Philadelphia, and it seemed that would only get worse with Avery Johnson’s dominant personality. Nevertheless, he proved himself to be a good analyst of draft talent.
Despite certain events of this Nets season, please try to propose one thing that King has done wrong. Just one. And don’t say Travis Outlaw, Johan Petro, or Jordan Farmar, as Thorn inked all three of those players before “retiring,” which actually meant going a couple hours down I-95. Talk about a great going-away present. With the Deron Williams and Terrence Williams deals, among others, King got off on the right foot with this franchise.
The Pink Shirt: Yeah. Deron. Supposedly this deal arose from a consolation call from Utah GM Kevin O’Connor to King with regard to the Nets’ missing out on Carmelo Anthony, which metamorphosed into a rudimentary trade negotiation. King jokingly suggested a deal for Williams, to which O’Connor replied seriously. And then some greatness occurred to make the deal happen.
The Paper Bag: Eh, maybe the Troy Murphy deal. He was a complete slug with the team, and it might have been nice to hold on to Courtney Lee for the foreseeable future. That said, picking up Murphy’s expiring contract might end up having been a catalyst to a sign-and-trade deal for Dwight Howard, but right now that’s just basic conjecture right now.
Final Thoughts: King won’t have much of a chance to prove his draft prowess this season, as the Nets only have the 27th and 36th picks this year, but he has shown that he’s more than an empty seat. There still remains a notable chance that Johnson could overpower King and convert him into his hand puppet, but the trade for Deron has certainly earned him a lot of respect around the NBA. If he can get Williams to re-sign and reel in Howard, he’ll be approaching Pat Riley status for modern-day executives.
Final Grade: A