Some notes from Nets General Manager Billy King’s end-of-season press conference Wednesday morning:
King’s top priority is to retain Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young. “Internally, the next big step is to keep Brook and Thaddeus here,” he said. “They both have shown indications they want to be here in their exit interviews and we want them here, so it’s incumbent on us to get that done.” However, neither has given the Nets any indication regarding their player options.
On Lopez: “For us to get in the playoffs that stretch, he was the guy who carried us, he was our best player. Without Brook Lopez, there’s no way we even get to where we go to this year. What you saw in the playoffs teams are double-teaming, game-planning how to stop him, and so that to me when you’ve got a guy that can average 20 and is rebounding the basketball and getting double-doubles. There’s not a lot of guys that can do that.” King later admitted that Lopez’s history of foot injuries is “always a concern.”
King spoke often about “building internally” while admitting that he “explored trading everybody,” and will continue to test the market: “Joe may have summed it up best: it may be the group, just together, maybe it’s time to split it up. Or, maybe add to it to help them. So we’ll look to add to complement them, to make them better, or do you look to maybe move a piece to add some other pieces to it.”
Responding to the growing criticism of his job: “Just keep working, that’s all you can do. There’s no reason to run and hide. We have a job to do. I keep to do it and when you choose to be in these kinds of positions whether as a player in the NBA or a GM or a coach, you’re going to get criticized and that’s part of the job. Whether it’s politics, it’s part of the job. I chose this profession. If I wanted to do something where I wouldn’t have been criticized publicly, then I would have. But this is the profession I’ve chosen.”
On the luxury tax, which the Nets have been above in each of the last two years: “The goal is not to be a taxpayer, but if things come about and there’s a decision that we think is gonna help us, we will. But the goal is not to be a taxpayer, but if we end up being over the tax and we think it’s the right thing to do, we’ll do it.”
King said he would welcome back Alan Anderson and that owning his early Bird rights helps. Anderson, describing his own free agency, said “I’m free,” and that he wants to play for a championship contender.
King added that Anderson may require surgery to clean out bone spurs in his ankle. No other Nets require offseason surgery as of now.
The Nets will tender a qualifying offer to Mirza Teletovic, which makes him a restricted free agent. That allows the Nets to match any offer made to Teletovic in free agency. But King was clear that he will let the market dictate what Teletovic might earn, and then they’ll make their decision. “Right now, no disrespect to Mirza, my main focus right now is Brook and Thaddeus because I think they’re two key pieces for us. They’re young and they’ve proven they can help us. And then from there we’ll build around those guys.”
The qualifying offer for Teletovic is a one-year deal worth about $4.2 million. If he ends up accepting that, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent next year.
On Mason Plumlee’s struggles: “Players sometimes lose confidence as you start playing when your minutes aren’t as frequent. I still think he’s a young player we can’t give up on. I think he’s even committed to playing in the Summer League for us at different times. So he understands he’s going to be a part of this team going forward.”
On the “Hack-A” strategy that teams employed against Plumlee: “I think it’s really something we really got to change as a league.” He offered a potential solution of allowing the team the right to choose whether they wanted to take free throws or to take the ball out of bounds again.
On his goals in this year’s draft: “(Taking) the best player. … we’re not going to just target a position because then you may miss on somebody else. Because let’s say you’re targeting that point guard, and there’s a big guy that you pass up on, and later you say we should have. … As I say every year, we’ll try to move up in the draft. We’ll explore options to get higher in the draft. We’ve already heard of some teams that may be willing to move their picks, so we’ll be talking to them next week in Chicago as we go prepare for the pre-draft camp.”
On trading future draft picks: “I don’t expect us to be trading any of those. We’ve done that.”
King would not discuss the report that the team did not pick up an option for assistant general manager Bobby Marks, but did say that there were reviews for most of the basketball operations department, about nine or ten people.