Billy King Rumors
The 2011 All-Star Game took place in Los Angeles. The night before, with the Nuggets’ permission, the Nets’ upper crust — owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Chairman of the Board, Dmitry Razumov, CEO Brett Yormark, part owner Jay-Z and GM Billy King — met with Melo and agent Leon Rose at Philippe Chow restaurant in Beverly Hills. “Carmelo liked everything we were pitching,” King said yesterday. “He understood, if the Knicks refused to give the Nuggets everything and everyone they wanted, he’d play one season in Newark before we moved to Brooklyn.”
Building slowly for a new arena wasn’t an option — and it dictated most of the moves by King — but not protecting draft picks and agreeing to unnecessary pick swaps also burned Brooklyn. That part was on the GM. “Billy’s literally like an addicted gambler when he’s close to doing those trades,” said an opposing executive. “He’ll do anything when it reaches a certain point.
King’s worst deal was for Wallace in 2012, a panic move meant to help convince Williams to re-sign in free agency that summer. The pick given in exchange to the Blazers turned into Dame Lillard, a point guard who is immensely better than Williams today.
But the deal with Boston was different. It was backed by logic — albeit flawed in retrospect — and lauded at the time as pushing the Nets into real contention. King had even gone around the room that evening asking about the proposal. There wasn’t much, if any, dissension. According to a report on Netsdaily.com, Milton Lee, the GM of the franchise’s D-League affiliate, represented the lone vocal opposition. “Looking back, my one regret — and I know Billy gets a lot of arrows for the swap rights for this year — was that I shouldn’t have done the swap, or that I should’ve put some type of protection on the swap there looking back on everything,” Marks said. “It wasn’t just Billy. This was a group decision here. This was the group in the room.”