King: Nets unlikely to move up in NBA Draft

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The Nets took Mason Plumlee in the first round in the 2013 NBA Draft. (AP)

Nets general manager Billy King eats draft-day trades for breakfast. But this year, he’s skeptical that the team has a shot at getting a higher pick.

“Do I think we can move up? Um, I don’t think so,” King said Monday morning. “But you’ve still got to get in the process and find out. (In) a lot of conversation, the price to move up is high, but it tends to come down as you get closer to the draft. So we’ve been in a lot of discussions.”

The Nets currently own the 29th and 41st picks in the draft, amidst rumors that the team could look to offer one of its young players with the hopes of securing a higher pick, perhaps even in the draft lottery.

In all, King has made eight draft-day trades[note]That includes the 2013 trade to acquire Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry, which was agreed to on draft night, but was not announced until July 12.[/note] in four drafts with the Nets, buying picks five times. In 2014 alone, the team bought the rights to the 44th, 59th, and 60th overall picks, selecting Markel Brown, Xavier Thames, and Cory Jefferson. The Nets have not made a trade to move up in the draft since 2011, when they traded up to secure the rights to Bojan Bogdanovic & MarShon Brooks.

King was asked what he was looking for in a prospect.

“One, we’re going to start with character,” King said. “We want guys with very high character because if they have that they’ll be willing to work, and be willing to fit in as part of the team. Then we’re going to look for guys that we see that fit Lionel, the way he wants to coach, the way we want to play. Tough-minded, try to get some guys that can move the ball around a little bit. Shooting is always a premium if you can get that.

“But we’re not going to take someone that we are projecting is going to be a certain thing. We’re going to try to look at them and figure out what they can do now, and not try to project. Because I think when you try to project, you can make a mistake. If they’ve got a good skillset, you look for if they’ve got one good skillset that can translate to the pros, that’s what you try to build off of.”

The NBA Draft will be held Thursday, June 25th at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The Nets will have their draft headquarters based in the arena.