Billy King is Still the GM?

Coming into this season, Billy King will be watched closely. Over the last couple of years, King has earned a “love him or hate him” relationship with the fans.

The Brooklyn Nets shoved all their chips into the middle of the table in a full breach to the NBA title with owner Mikhail Prokhorov issuing a blank check in 2010. They were spending money like a college kid who just got their first credit card.

For the last three years, it must have been so much fun being Billy King. He had full autonomy to build a team in his image without worrying about the salary cap. At the time Prokhorov wanted a NBA title no matter what the cost.

Billy King took full advantage of that situation.

After dropping a shade under $100 million dollars in a max deal contract to keep Deron Williams in town, the Nets helped Danny Ainge’s dream come true. Blow up the “Big Three” in Boston and build the franchise through the draft. Brooklyn gladly ushered draft picks for years to come to take on the aging Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry on draft night in 2013. Boston got younger, still made the playoffs and has a bright future. All the while Brooklyn got older and is looking at the lottery where they may have no pick.

Even though Pierce was amazing in the playoffs leading the Nets to their only series win over the Toronto Raptors, the Brooklyn Nets did not want him back.

Check out the conversation with David Aldridge of when he became a free agent…

“Obviously, this is my first time in free agency. I didn’t know where I’d end up. Truthfully, I thought I was going to end in Brooklyn, with Kevin [Garnett]. I told Kevin, if you are not going to retire, then I probably will come back. But when Brooklyn didn’t give me an offer, it was like, I talked to him, and I kind of started looking at my options then.”

Kevin Garnett was physically done by the time he came to Brooklyn. He was a true professional, but other than playing mentor and occasionally knocking down jumpers he wasn’t worth it. Billy King got lucky at the trade deadline and traded Garnett back to Minnesota for Thaddeus Young.

Jason Terry was in the trade but he was shipped out to Sacramento for Marcus Thornton. Thornton is long gone… along with all of the draft picks for these players.

Throw this deal along with the Joe Johnson contract, RealGM reports that the Nets possibly could go without a quality pick until 2019 because of pick swaps and unprotected draft picks. Now the Brooklyn Nets roster has to go under construction to gain anything close to salary cap flexibility for the future.

Now Lionel Hollins is in command and boy Hollins earned his paycheck this past year. He was rumored to be fired right along with the potential sale of the Nets by owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Infighting in the locker room, player beefs and all around bad basketball at times gave Hollins fits.

With all of these bad moves, bad contracts, dealt future picks and assets, Billy King is still the GM. After all of the coaching drama, King is the sixth longest tenured general manager in the Eastern Conference.

Most Brooklyn fans are asking why hasn’t Billy King got the ax?

They have a point on the surface. His moves have cost the franchise millions of dollars in salary cap penalties with a blueprint that is built around aging players that are on their last legs.

However there is a hidden talent in King that fans need to realize…

Billy King has an eye for talent that is very rare in GMs in the NBA. He has shown that positive example back to the Sixers days. Plus, it does look like he is trying to change his philosophy.

The first smart move is that King did not fire Lionel Hollins as Head Coach. Hollins is exactly what the Nets need right now going forward.

He has turned over to the youth movement as opposed to chasing aging superstars. Plus he is trying to build the Nets (wisely) in defensive mentality of Lionel Hollins.

The aforementioned Young for Garnett trade is a start. Looking over King’s entire tenure in Brooklyn it is his best trade as GM.

Signing Thomas Robinson on the cheap will be a big payoff for the Nets. For the life of me I can’t understand why this guy can’t stick with a team. He plays hard and will definitely take advantage of his possible last chance in the NBA.

The draft night trade Billy King swung shipping out Brooklyn’s 41st pick, Pat Connaughton and Mason Plumlee to the Portland Trailblazers for Rondae Hollis Jefferson the 23rd pick out of Arizona should buy him some time with Nets fans.

Then Billy King turned and traded the throw-in player in the Portland deal, Steve Blake, for Quincy Miller, whose contract is not guaranteed. A very wise move for a team on a budget.

Now the draft did not go without risk. King did select Chris McCollough with the 29th pick out of Syracuse. McCollough is rehabbing from an ACL tear. He may not even see the floor next season. However, if he can recover to full health, Nets fans could be looking at lottery level talent here.

Couple these moves with players on the team such as Markel Brown shows that Billy King has a philosophy of going after versatile athletic players who can defend as opposed to swinging for the fences with players acquired in the past.

The one thing Billy King did (which is amazing if you think about it) is get the Nets below the luxury tax line, which was done with the Deron Williams buyout.

Billy King has enjoyed a good offseason to offset a ton of mistakes he has made over the last few years. There wasn’t going to be much improvement over the 38 win campaign last year. The Nets were hamstrung financially from the gate.

But if Markel Brown can develop a jump shot, Hollis-Jefferson pans out and Robinson becomes the old school Buck Williams hard-hat type of player, the Nets can build for the future on the cheap.

With Joe Johnson’s contract coming off the books next year, and if Chris McCollough realizes the potential that scouts say he possesses, Brooklyn might be the biggest surprise stories in the NBA next year.

Then maybe I will jump on Billy King’s bandwagon.


What Deron Williams’s Contract Bought

Boy! What a difference three years makes! After signing a five-year, $98 million dollar max deal back in 2012, Deron Williams gets bought out at $27.5 million dollars out of the $43 million dollars remaining on his albatross… I mean contract. Read More


2015-16 Brooklyn Nets Schedule Breakdown

The NBA schedule dropped last Thursday, giving those of us who follow sports a brief respite from baseball games and NFL training camp brawls, as we can begin to analyze the form the upcoming season will take. Here at Brooklyn’s Finest, we took some time to breakdown the schedule and offer some things to keep an eye out for, as well as those games to circle on the calendar. Let’s start with some stray observations:

  • On The Road: Let’s just be upfront here, Lionel Hollins’ crew is looking at another long season. ESPN has them finishing 12th in the Eastern Conference with a 30-52 record. Not great Bob, indeed. Things get off to an intimidating start from opening day, which finds the Nets hosting the Chicago Bulls before playing 11 of their next 16 away from home. This gauntlet takes them through San Antonio, Memphis, Houston, Cleveland, Golden State and Oklahoma City. Let’s hope they brought some dramamine.
  • Beware the Ides of March… and the rest of the month, too: That opening stretch looks rough, sure. But no month looks as bad as a March that sees them play 10 out of 15 games on the road, starting with the back half of their annual circus-induced road trip, which stretches from Febraury 23rd to March 11th and adds six games to that road tally.
  • Unfriendly Confines: The schedule isn’t all doom and gloom, we promise. But when it rains, it pours, as even the Brooklyn homestands are just one elite squad after another. In December, defending champ Golden State kicks off a six-game homestand that includes the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers and Eastern Conference contender Miami stopping by. January 20th through the 26th sees Cleveland, Western Conference upstart Utah, Oklahoma City and Miami (again)  all come under the watchful eye of the Oculus.

And now, on to five regular season games (plus one preseason bonus!) to circle - assuming you still have a physical calendar on which to circle things. I’m a Google Calendar guy myself. But I digress:

  • Monday, October 5th, vs Fenerbahçe (Preseason): It may only be preseason, but Fenerbahçe is one of the top squads in Europe and features a fair share of NBA talent, including Ekpe Udoh, Jan Vesely (talent being used loosely here) and a familiar face from last year’s playoffs, Pero Antic. Nets SF Bojan Bagdanovic, a Fenerbahçe alum, gets to play his brother Bogdan, the 27th pick of the Phoenix Suns in last year’s draft.
  • Friday, December 4th, @ New York: The league’s marquee city lacks an equally marquee rivalry, as most of the heat surrounding the Battle for New York is generated by marketing departments and not fans or history. Still, New York’s solid, if not glamorous, moves this offseason are a step in the right direction. Even better, one such move involved signing the Other Lopez, giving fans of both squads a chance to watch twins Brook and Robin go at it in the post for the first time at the Garden.
  • Sunday, December 20th vs Minnesota: The Timberwolves have amassed a ridiculous amount of young, raw, athletic talent, between the past two overall No. 1 picks Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins (no, we’re not counting 2013 No. 1 Anthony Bennett, sorry) and 2014 13th overall pick Zach LaVine. If you haven’t heard, the Nets have a couple of dunkers themselves in best buds Markel Brown and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. There are worse ways to spend a cold Sunday afternoon than watching all of these guys try and outjump each other.
  • Wednesday, December 23rd, vs. Dallas: After four and a half years, the Nets and Point Guard Deron Williams finally called it quits on their rocky relationship, as they negotiated a buyout this summer so Williams could sign with the Dallas Mavericks. His only chance to get a glimpse of the visitor’s locker room at the Barclays Center comes a couple of days before Christmas. In the true holiday spirit, expect a few boos to rain down come player introductions.
  • Saturday, January 2nd @ Boston, Monday, January 4th vs. Boston, Wednesday, January 6th vs. Toronto: Any attempt to prove the doubters wrong and make a playoff push requires a competitive showing within the Atlantic Division. The Nets can start off 2016 on the right foot with a home-and-home tilt against Brad Stevens’ ever-improving Celtics before welcoming division heavyweights Toronto to the Barclays center. If the Nets can make some hay in this three game swing, it could provide them with some momentum for another playoff push. Side note: In an odd scheduling quirk, the Nets burn off their four games against the Celtics with two separate home-and-home series in December and January. Get your kicks in early.
  • Sunday, April 3rd, vs. New Orleans: The final days of the season can bear excitement in a number of different ways. Every game matters for a handful of teams, whether they’re battling for playoff seeding or draft lottery odds. For Brooklyn fans, this is their one chance to see Anthony Davis as he continues his ascension into the stratosphere occupied by LeBron, Kevin Durant and…not much else. Whether or not the Nets still have anything to play for at this juncture of the season, welcoming The Brow to Barclays will move some tickets.


Nets Sign Donald Sloan, Waive Earl Clark

The Brooklyn Nets’ offseason isn’t quite yet completed, as they announced Monday that they’ve agreed to terms on a contract with free agent guard Donald Sloan. Terms of the deal were not announced, as per team policy, but Spotrac lists it as a one-year deal for $1.015 million that could be partially guaranteed in 2015-16.

The 27-year old Sloan has spent time with four organizations over his four-year career; most recently with the Indiana Pacers last season where he started 21 games and averaged 7.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.2 turnovers in 20.9 minutes per game and on 46.4/31.3/77.9 triple-slash percentages (on two-point field goals, three-pointers, and free throws).

At 6’3” and 205 lbs., Sloan is able to switch between both backcourt positions and is effective at using his size to get into the lane to draw free throws (career .203 free-throw rate, per Basketball-Reference) and generate easy baskets (43.8 percent of his shot attempts came within 10 feet of the basket, to which he converted at a 53.5-percent clip by’s data). He’s also a solid passer and playmaker, with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.55-to-1 in his 157-game NBA career, but Sloan struggles with his long-range accuracy and shot under 30 percent from deep in his two seasons with Indiana, despite an increase in attempts from beyond the arc (up to 36.6 percent of his total shots).

Donald Sloan will join the reshuffled Brooklyn point guard rotation along with incumbent veteran Jarrett Jack and fellow new additions Shane Larkin and rookie Ryan Boatright, as they attempt to replace the production of former-”stretched” starter Deron Williams in ‘15-16. Jack will be given every opportunity to seize the starting job once training camp opens on October 1st, barring any major trades, while Sloan’s size and NBA experience could endear him to head coach Lionel Hollins and provide an advantage in the battle for the back-up point guard position over his younger teammates.


This story just keeps on getting more and more interesting I’m guessing this chapter is called…

— Donald Sloan (@dsloan15) August 10, 2015

The opportunity to bring Donald Sloan in as a point guard option will cost the Nets a relatively minor financial commitment (that could be mitigated by any partial guarantees), but also the services of forward Earl Clark, who was signed to a guaranteed extension after a couple of 10-day contracts with the team in March. Clark’s contract included a non-guaranteed second season and a $200,000 roster bonus due on October 26th that would have probably sealed his fate regardless of Sloan’s presence, and perhaps the early decision on his Nets status will allow him to field other offers either domestically or overseas.

The Brooklyn Nets career of Earl Clark lasted 10 games (12, counting playoffs), in which he averaged 2.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 9.3 minutes per game, and (somehow) accumulated an offensive rating of 76 compared to a 102 defensive rating in his 93 total minutes as a Net.