First, a disclaimer: I like Billy King. He has always treated me well, has always been friendly and helpful, and he was truly one of the NBA’s most gracious men.
But now let’s get to the heart of the matter: Billy King was a terrible, terrible general manager. One of the worst in league history. His temporary replacement — an empty chair — will do a better job than King did. And his eventual successor will need one essential qualification — masochist — to be the right fit for the job.
Let’s start with this little factoid: If the Nets win the draft lottery this year, next year and in 2018, they will not be making the No. 1 pick in any of those three years. Brooklyn’s 2016 pick and 2018 pick are the property of the Boston Celtics, and in 2017 the Celtics have the option to swap picks with the Nets.
The Nets also do not have their own second-round picks in 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020. King traded those away, too.
Talk about a bare cupboard, eh? There are food pantries in Somalia that have more non-perishables than what Mikhail Prokhorov has stashed away.
Let’s have a look at King’s trade history. We’ll get to his draft history later, and it may just be less illustrious than his trade history (yes, that is a mouthful).
King joined the Nets in mid-July 2010. Here are the deals he made, along with accompanying grades.
Aug. 11, 2010: Dealt Courtney Lee to Houston as part of a four-team trade, getting back Troy Murphy. Lee is still in the league, currently shooting a career-low 32 percent from 3-point range for the Memphis Grizzlies, his fifth NBA team. Murphy has been out of the league for several seasons and recently was attending Columbia University to complete his undergraduate degree in sociology, making the dean’s list in Fall 2014 with a 3.8 GPA. He earned $80 million over 14 seasons in the NBA. He played 18 games for the Nets. GRADE: F.
Dec. 15, 2010: Acquired Sasha Vujacic from the Lakers for Joe Smith and Terrence Williams in a deal that also netted two first-round draft picks, one of which was used to select MarShon Brooks, the other of which was sent to Atlanta in the Joe Johnson deal. I was covering the Nets at the time, and I clearly recall Vujacic’s amazement at his change in circumstances, going from a championship contender that played to packed houses at the Staples Center to playing in a freezing converted hockey arena in Newark where rat traps lined the hallways outside the locker rooms. He played 56 games for the Nets that season before deciding he’d rather ply his trade in Turkey. Smith and Williams were throwaways, as was Brooks. GRADE: C.
Feb. 23, 2011: Acquired Deron Williams from Utah for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, two first-round draft picks and cash. This was considered a decent trade at the time, as Williams was one of the league’s top two point guards, along with Chris Paul. And as we all know, this trade was ultimately a disaster. Williams was an overpaid malcontent who ended up taking a buyout last summer after fleecing the Nets for a max deal. Favors has been increasingly productive as his career with the Jazz has evolved and is now considered one of the best PFs in the league. Harris remains in the league, though he is on the bench behind Williams in Dallas. Utah used the Nets’ No. 1 pick in 2011 to select Alec Burks, who remains a member of its young core. GRADE: F.
Feb. 23, 2011: Acquired Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright from Golden State for Murphy and a second-round pick, which the Warriors used to select Draymond Green. Wright played in only 16 games for the Nets, who decided to let him leave as a free agent. The journeyman center has remained in the league ever since. Gadzuric also was let go after appearing in just 14 games for the Nets. His final stop the next season was New York, where he appeared in two games for the Knicks. GRADE: F.
June 23, 2011: Acquired MarShon Brooks from Boston for JuJuan Johnson and a second-round pick. Garbage for garbage. GRADE: C.
June 24, 2011: Acquired the draft right to Bojan Bogdanovic from Minnesota for a second-round draft pick (Lorenzo Brown) and cash. Hey, even a blind squirrel can find an acorn. GRADE: A.
March 15, 2012: Acquired Gerald Wallace from Portland for Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams and the Nets’ No. 1 pick, which Portland used to select Damian Lillard. King put top-three protection on the pick, but the Nets finished with the sixth-worst record in the league, and the Trail Blazers got themselves a stud who actually became worthy of the max contract he received. So in the space of 11 months, King gave up the picks that were used on Draymond Green and Damian Lillard. GRADE: F-minus.
June 28, 2012: Acquired the draft rights to Tornike Shengelia and Tyshawn Taylor for cash. It is easy to trade a billionaire’s money, but if spending that money is the same as throwing away that money … GRADE: F.
July 11, 2013: Acquired Joe Johnson from Atlanta for Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams, Johan Petro, a first-round pick (Houston’s) and a second-round pick in 2017. This was the start of King’s ill-advised all-in push. And although Johnson was clearly the best player in this deal – and the Nets got some production out of him – they never accomplished anything significant other than the distinction of currently having the NBA’s second-highest paid player on their payroll. The Hawks still hold the rights to that 2017 second-round pick, which will be somewhere in the 30-32 range. GRADE: C-minus.
July 11, 2013: Acquired Reggie Evans from the LA Clippers for the right to swap second-round picks in 2016 — unless the Clippers pick is between No. 56-60. GRADE: Incomplete.
July 12, 2013: Acquired Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, D.J. White and a 2017 second-round draft pick from the Boston Celtics for Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, three first-round picks (2014 – James Young, 2016 and 2018) and the right to swap first-round selections in 2017. It will take years to figure out exactly how bad this trade ends up, but we know this much: The Nets are going to stink for the rest of this season and each of the next two seasons, and the Celtics can build a dynasty with Brooklyn’s draft picks if the lottery ping-pong balls bounce the right way. If there is ever a sequel to the Ted Stepien Rule, it will be known as the Billy King Rule. GRADE: F-minus.
January 21, 2014: Acquired draft rights to Edin Bavcic from the New Orleans Pelicans for Tyshawn Taylor and cash considerations.
January 21: 2014: Acquired Marquis Teague from the Chicago Bulls for Tornike Shengelia.
February 19, 2014: Acquired Marcus Thornton from the Sacramento Kings for Reggie Evans and Jason Terry.
June 26, 2014: Acquired draft rights to Markel Brown, the 44th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, from the Minnesota Timberwolves for cash considerations.
June 26, 2014: Acquired draft rights to Xavier Thames, the 59th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, from the Toronto Raptors for cash considerations.
June 26, 2014: Acquired draft rights to Cory Jefferson, the 60th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, from the Philadelphia 76ers for cash considerations.
June 30, 2014: Acquired second-round draft picks in 2015 and 2019 from the Milwaukee Bucks for permitting coach Jason Kidd to leave the organization to coach the Bucks.
July 10, 2014: Acquired Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev from the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a three-team trade which also included the Boston Celtics. The Nets sent Marcus Thornton to Boston and the draft rights to Ilkan Karaman and Edin Bavcic to Cleveland.
October 24, 2014: Acquired Casper Ware from the Philadelphia 76ers for Marquis Teague and the 2019 second-round pick that was obtained from Milwaukee on June 30, 2014.
December 11, 2014: Acquired Brandon Davies from the Philadelphia 76ers for Andrei Kirilenko, Jorge Gutierrez, the Nets’ second-round draft pick in 2020 and the right to swap second-round picks in 2018.
Not one keeper in the bunch, either coming or going, with the possible exception of Thornton. A shameful waste of precious cell phone minutes. CUMULATIVE GRADE FOR THE 10 TRADES: F.
February 19, 2015: Acquired Thaddeus Young from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett. Kings’s Picasso. GRADE: A.
June 25, 2015: Acquired draft rights to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, the 23rd overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, and Steve Blake, from the Portland Trail Blazers for Mason Plumlee and the draft rights to Pat Connaughton, the 41st overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. GRADE: Incomplete.
June 25, 2015: Acquired draft rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet, the 39th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, from the Charlotte Hornets for a 2018 second-round pick, the Nets‘ 2019 second-round pick and cash considerations. GRADE: Incomplete.
July 13, 2015: Acquired Quincy Miller from the Detroit Pistons for Steve Blake. Since Miller is currently playing in Serbia, we gotta stick with the tough report card tactics. GRADE: F.
Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.