Billy King Rumors
He rose. He fell. He crumbled. Then rose again. Financially. Ethically. Morally at times. Letting critics talk, cynics swell and allowing his life to become far more difficult than it needed to be. “There were many occasions when it wasn’t even Allen who had done anything,” former Sixers president Billy King once told me. “It could’ve been someone in [Iverson’s] crew. But it didn’t matter. You might as well blame him because the last thing he was going to do was tell on anyone. No matter the reason. Not matter the consequences. He’d take the heat himself for anyone he cared about, and simply say he wasn’t perfect.”
So, King didn’t know I was going to be there, but he certainly recognized me and to his credit, didn’t seem to hold back. Since we weren’t told it was off-the-record, we, my seatmate and I, assumed it was on. We’ve written about this before but haven’t shared the notes. So in the interest of full disclosure on this issue, here they are: King says Dmitry Razumov is fully engaged, that they talk, text, email all the time and that at the trade deadline, there was constant communication between the two of them and among him, Razumov and Prokhorov. Razumov came to New York for more than a week.
He said Razumov and Prokhorov are much more knowledgeable about NBA players than they were when they took over five years ago. Razumov will text him about specific players. He texted about JaVale McGee and when Billy told him no interest, he responded that he figured as much. Billy added that Razumov will often play with the ESPN Trade Machine and call with suggestions. He said Razumov recently asked about getting a young player on the Rockets, that he appeared to be just what were looking for. Billy said he agreed with the assessment that the player fit well, but that Houston wouldn’t trade him.
We were also told, by multiple sources, that King refused to go along with a trade proposal in 2015-16 that would have brought Lance Stephenson to the Nets, along with others, and sent Joe Johnson to the Hornets. Razumov liked the idea. King, not a big fan of Stephenson, did not. There was no dispute, no argument, we were told. It was another case of ownership making a suggestion and management citing reasons why it wouldn’t work.
So far, it appears that Marks is following through on that promise. A NetsDaily survey shows that the team has added 17 new staff and dropped 11 from Billy King’s setup. Moreover, Marks has organized things, as one might expect. The biggest change is on the coaching side of the building. The Nets went through last season –at least up through Lionel Hollins firing and Paul Westphal’s departure– with six assistants, one short of what the team had under Jason Kidd. It now appears the Nets will have a staff similar in size to Kidd’s.
In his first interview since being dumped as Nets GM in January, Billy King tells two NBA beat writers he thinks he could have turned things around if he had been permitted to stay on, but says he does not “begrudge” ownership for wanting a “different voice” in shaping the team. Still, he admits to “bitter fieelings” King also seems to side with those who criticized the Nets for not interviewing any candidates of color for his old job, noting that the trend now is to hire executives from the “Spurs tree,” an apparent reference to the Nets decision to hire Sean Marks and Trajan Langdon.