Analysis, News

Brooklyn Nets: Billy King Reassigned… What Next?

The Brooklyn Nets finally turned the page and closed the book on “The Five-Year Plan” Sunday by firing head coach Lionel Hollins and reassigning General Manager Billy King. Brooklyn Finest’s started it’s complete coverage of the aftermath of Mikhail Prokhorov blowing up the front office and starting over. The questions of what would happen next after Lionel Hollins firing was addressed, along with Paul Mitchell’s coverage of the events as soon as the news went down. Now we continue the coverage with questions as to what happens next with Billy King, now that he has been relieved of his duties.

Here’s what we know (Saying this is like knowing the secret ingredient to Coca-Cola) so far. Until Mikhail Prokhorov figures out his long-range plans, Frank Zamin, the assistant GM is the baby sitter… I mean interim GM for now. The basic responsibilities of Billy King going forward will be in an “advisory” role. We can interpret this in two ways…

1.) The Brooklyn Nets have (finally) come to the realization that Billy King has been a colossal failure in his tenure as General Manager and will let him fall on the proverbial sword.

Forget the basketball mess that is on the court this year. That does not matter at this point. Let’s go back to 2010 and go forward. The Brooklyn Nets have made it Christmas for every team in the NBA with all of the record-breaking luxury tax penalties that were passed around for the last couple of years. As of this writing, despite all of the cost cutting that Billy King did in the offseason, the Nets STILL have the fifth-highest payroll at over $91 million. The other four teams ahead of them happen to have winning records. The Nets, after their beat down by the Spurs on Monday night, are 10-28, which is second-worst in the Eastern Conference. With a team that has been called boring and fails to score (79 points at home doesn’t equate to excitement), fans are just not going to spend money to watch a team get blown out every night, which is starting to become a trend. The NBA is a business, folks, and business means equity. This business plan is irretrievably broken and Billy King was the architect.

2.) Billy King may actually be an advisor to the team and for some reason, management likes and respects him.

Lets be very clear here… EVERYONE knew that Lionel Hollins was going to be fired. Lionel Hollins himself knew he was going to be fired. The shock was that Billy King was reassigned. Remember there were rumors that King would be extended past this year. What got King ousted?


The word was that the ownership group was willing to shoulder some of the blame and let Billy King slide for the failed trades and other moves that left the team in purgatory for the rest of this decade by way of depleted draft picks.

They were not willing to accept the hiring of Lionel Hollins. After the Jason Kidd fiasco, King was so quick to save face and hire Hollins as his replacement that Mikhail Prokhorov or his right hand, Dmitry Razumov, hadn’t even met the man. You have to give Billy King credit, he is the ULTIMATE company guy.

Check out the statement about King on Sunday…

“I want to thank Billy for his hard work in the development of the Nets. At every step of the way, he has been aggressive in his quest to build a winning team and has been a key factor toward the Nets making the playoffs for each of the last three seasons. Beyond this, he has been a tremendous friend, wonderful colleague, and loyal partner and we wish him success in the future.”

Oh it gets better. Billy King has been reportedly slated to help in the GM search. REALLY? That’s like the blind leading the blind. But this is what is really amazing here…

The ownership group must have HATED Lionel Hollins’s job performance and their relationship with Hollins had to be nonexistent. Hollins’s behavior at times this season was borderline insubordinate and he checked out basically when the season started. Hollins had a 48-71 record in his one-and-a-half seasons as Nets head coach, but at least he led the team to the playoffs last season. King cost the franchise millions and their immediate future. What gives here?

Now this move leaves more questions than answers. The Brooklyn Nets tend to make moves, but they tend to be knee jerk moves for the sake of moving from mistakes. Billy King was a problem that needed to be dealt with and that’s fine. But he was in the last year of his contract. Couldn’t the Nets wait until the offseason and just not extend his contract? If that was not a option for the Nets, how about waiting until the trading deadline passed?

Okay, Frank Zamin is the GM, for now, that doesn’t mean that NBA teams are going to take this guy seriously when it comes to getting a real deal done. Any self-respecting GM with a clue knows that the Nets are desperate. With all that blood in the water and nothing to offer not named Brook Lopez or Thaddeus Young, good luck with any deal that makes sense.

I know what you are thinking: What about Joe Johnson? Well here goes…

Smart money says that Johnson won’t go anywhere. First that 25 million dollars that he is owed this year is a definite turnoff for team unless the Nets want to bring back toxic contracts. (Nope, that’s not going to happen.) Even if the Nets were willing, no team is going to trade for a player that is in his worst season of his career that makes 25 million dollars.

That means buyout. Johnson would have been easier to deal with if King was still GM. They have history and King was the guy that brought him in. A stop-gap GM will not have that same relationship or advantage. That will be a scenario to watch as well.

Remember former President George W. Bush’s bridge to nowhere? Welcome to NBA’s version of it.