Report: With trade deadline approaching, Nets narrow in on four GM candidates

Arturas Karnisovas (AP)

When asked on January 10th what his team would do if an opposing team called them about making a trade, Mikhail Prokhorov referred to Nets assistant general manager Frank Zanin, saying it would be “no problem.”

Arturas Karnisovas (AP)
Arturas Karnisovas (AP)
But according to a new report, the Brooklyn Nets would like to have a general manager in place before the trade deadline, and have narrowed the field down to four candidates, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

Former Toronto Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo and former Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry were two names already on the Nets’ radar, but two more names have emerged since, per Wojnarowski: Denver Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas and Houston Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas.

Both Karnisovas and Rosas have international ties. Karnisovas is Lithuanian, and “has strong relationships with the members of owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s extended sporting inner-circle”; while Rosas, from Colombia, has helped build the Houston Rockets since 2003, under analytics-driven Daryl Morey since 2007. As a member of the Rockets, Rosas also has ties to potential coaching candidates Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau, as Van Gundy worked as a head coach in Houston and Thibodeau as an assistant.

From the report:

Karnisovas and Rosas fit the Nets’ desire to have a more global scouting focus, something ownership believes was lacking under the previous regime. The Nets are severely limited in draft picks over the next several years, and will need to be creative in reshaping a floundering roster.

Rosas replaced Karnisovas – a former colleague with the Rockets – as the International Player Personnel Scout for USA Basketball in 2015. He also had a brief stay as Dallas Mavericks general manager in the summer of 2013 before parting ways and returning to Houston.

The report adds that Billy King, who has remained with the team in day-to-day operations after stepping down from the GM role, is backing Ferry for the job. Ferry and King both attended Duke and are close friends. King’s official position is still yet-to-be-determined.

The impetus to have a lead mind in place before the February 19th deadline would also indicate that the Nets either plan on making moves, or at least plan to field numerous calls. That in and of itself could be a hint towards their vision for the future: if they want to significantly change the complexity of their roster, they’d want the person that shares a vision for the future of the roster at the helm.