Nets introduce new GM King

Updated: July 15, 2010, 8:11 PM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- On the job as the New Jersey Nets' general manager less than a day, Billy King already is deep into the hunt for a power forward.

King has spoken to outgoing general manager Rod Thorn, new coach Avery Johnson and more than a couple of agents looking to secure a job for one of their clients.

The 44-year-old King is more than ready to listen, but he's also in no hurry. It's one of the lessons he learned in his 10-year stint as president and GM of the Philadelphia 76ers, and that patience is something he is bringing to his new job after a 2-year absence from the NBA.

King was introduced as Nets general manager on Thursday, saying his goal is to win a title with the Nets (12-70), who finished with the NBA's worst record last season.

The more immediate goal, however, is finding a power forward.

The Nets failed to lure Chris Bosh -- or LeBron James or Dwyane Wade -- to New Jersey in free agency. Rookie Derrick Favors, the No. 3 pick overall in the draft, isn't ready to step into a starting spot as a 19-year-old newcomer.

"We have to be patient," King said. "There may be guys available tradewise and there may be guys available on the free-agent market. There are veterans guys I like, but just because we need it, we can't be desperate."

King said he will work with Johnson, saying they clicked in their first meetings last week. He also noted all moves must be approved by new owner Mikhail Prokhorov and his chief aide, Dmitry Razumov.

The Nets are about $14 million under the salary cap and King has no intention of wasting the flexibility it provides.

He recalled the 2004 season in Philadelphia, where Atlanta Hawks general manager Billy Knight offered him Rasheed Wallace for a first-round pick around draft day. The Sixers didn't have one and Wallace eventually went to Detroit, where he would play on a championship team.

"I just know in this league, players become available," King said. "Pau Gasol became available and the Lakers had the pieces to get it done. The Celtics had the assets and ability when Kevin Garnett became available, so I think you want to make sure you have that flexibility."

Without saying whom he would pursue, King said he plans to be aggressive on the trade front.

"There will be teams I will call because we have the flexibility," King said. "I am going to make some calls today and tomorrow to the same people. I think you have to be a pest and a nuisance and eventually they get tired of you and they do the deal or don't. That's how the Lakers got Gasol. They kept on calling."

King disclosed that Thorn offered him the job on Tuesday night, hours after both he and close friend Danny Ferry had final interviews with Prokhorov.

Ironically, King did not know that Ferry, who resigned as Cleveland's general manager after the season, was his competition. The two have known each other since they were 16 and they ended up eating at the same New York City restaurant Monday night.

For King, this is his first job in the NBA since being fired as president and general manager of the Sixers in December 2007.

"There were days you wonder what did you do wrong," King said. "Am I on a list I can't get off? Maybe the TSA [Transportation Security Administration] put me on an NBA list where I can't fly and couldn't become a GM again. I was going to call down to Washington and see if I could get off that list. I was concerned."

King admitted he made some mistakes with the Sixers.

"Now I have a better understanding and more patience," he said. "In Philly I tried to do a lot of things quickly and in this league you do some things and it doesn't work you are punished for a while. So I think I will be a little more patient and not make quick decisions. You can't take shortcuts. You have to be patient and do it the right way."

Johnson, who was hired a month before King, doesn't see any problem working with the new general manager, noting that King was an assistant coach and knows the pressures of coaching.

Thorn was confident the Nets found a replacement who could take them to the next level.

"I know the person," Thorn said. "I have been with and around him over the course of 25 years and I just know how bright he is, what a basketball guy he is. He has the qualities needed to succeed in this business over the course of time."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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