UPDATE: 11:03 am: It’s official, King has taken the New Jersey job, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com.
King spent almost a decade as the head man in Philly, but you have to wonder if new Nets owner Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov will want his own man calling the shots in a few years.
For right now, you can bet Avery Johnson will be calling a lot of the shots.
8:55 am: Billy King — the man who drafted the young core of the current Philadelphia 76ers with Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young — is about to take over as head of the Nets.
He is very near getting the job as general manager taking over for Rod Thorn in New Jersey, according to Chris Manix of Sports Illustrated. There had been talk that King would take over Thorn’s other job as team president of basketball operations and have Bobby Marks as the general manager. Either way, just like Thorn, King will call the shots.
King was far from loved as the general manager in Philadelphia during the Allen Iverson era there, although is it really possible to be loved as a general manager on Philadelphia under any circumstances?
He did help put together a team around Iverson and hire Larry Brown, which got them to the finals one time. He also threw rookie coach Randy Ayers to the lions of Iverson, Derrick Coleman and Glenn Robinson. Phil Jackson would have had a hard time keeping those three in line, a rookie coach was doomed.
For the most part the Sixers were never really able to fully capitalize on Iverson, they were always good but not quite good enough. Then they held on to him about a season too long as his skills started to decline (although the fan base still loved him, so there were ticket sales to consider) and eventually had to dump him in Denver.
It was tough to find the right guy in New Jersey because the power structure was upside down. Thorn hired Avery Johnson as the coach then announced he would resign. Now the Nets had to find a GM that both ownership and a new coach could agree upon. New Orleans’s Jeff Bower was not that guy as Johnson didn’t want him.
Johnson is good with King. Which might mean Johnson thinks he can influence King. In Philly Larry Brown called a lot of the shots that King executed. Either way, the job appears to be King’s to lose at this point.