The Long Fall and Quick Rise of Billy King


Oh how quickly things can change. Right up until July 1st when the Nets made their first move by resigning Gerald Wallace, many people: Nets fans, sports commentators, and NBA fans alike did not know how Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King still had his job. Now, he is looking like one of the smartest men in basketball. Let’s recap the biggest moves he has made since taking over as Nets GM:

  • King was named Nets GM on July 14th, 2010, almost 2 years ago. This was following the 2010 NBA draft, where the Nets selected Derrick Favors.
  • This first summer was also the big free agency summer of 2010, where the Nets completely struck out on all free agents, including Lebron James. Of course I was not expecting Lebron to want to play in New Jersey for two years before coming to Brooklyn, but I was still disappointed that they were unable to get anybody at all.
  • December 15, 2010: Nets trade Joe Smith and picks to Lakers for Sasha Vujacic and picks. This move seemed meaningless at the time, but Sasha was a fan favorite in his only season in New Jersey. He still did not make a major impact.
  • February 23, 2011: Nets trade Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, two first round picks for Deron Williams. This was obviously a blockbuster trade and the move came after the Nets struck out in trying to get Carmelo Anthony. People were excited about Deron coming to New Jersey, but at this point, the move looked like it could be a deadly one if Deron did not resign with the team when it moves to Brooklyn.
  • February 28, 2011: Nets sign Sundiata Gaines. Gaines remained with the team for the rest of that season and all of last season. He was a third-string point guard.
  • In the 2011 NBA draft, the Nets traded for the 25th pick, where they selected Marshon Brooks. This was one of Billy King’s few good moves to this point and Marshon looks like he could potentially be a future NBA star.
  • December 21, 2011: Nets resign Kris Humphries to 1-year contract. This was a good move. Teams were afraid to sign The Hump because of the Kardashian mess, but Humphries played well for them last season.
  • Added Dennis Horner, Jordan Williams, Shawne Williams, Shelden Williams, Mehmet Okur, and Deshawn Stevenson before 2012 season. Most of these players did not add anything to the 2012 Nets or were traded at some point in the season. The Nets again struck out on free agents like Caron Butler and others.
  • February 27, 2012: Nets sign Gerald Green. This was King’s best move to this point. King revived Green’s NBA career and he will demand a nice contract next season.
  • March 15, 2012: After missing out on a superstar at the trade deadline for the second year in a row (Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard), the Nets traded the eventual #6 pick in the draft for Gerald Wallace. Even though I am happy about how this trade turned out now, it did not look like a good trade at the time.
  • NBA Draft Lottery 2012: Nets miss out on top-3 pick and their #6 pick goes to Portland to complete the Gerald Wallace trade. At the time, this looked like the final nail in the coffin for King, and he would soon be fired once the Nets don’t resign Williams or Wallace.
  • 2012 NBA draft: Nets select Tyshawn Taylor and two Eurostashes, don’t make any blockbuster trade for Dwight Howard or anyone else. Now things were really looking bad.
  • Nets sign Gerald Wallace to 4 year/$40 million deal. Even though they may have overpayed Wallace, this move was absolutely necessary to keep Deron Williams.
  • Nets trade a lot of 2012 scrubs to Atlanta for Joe Johnson. Although Johnson’s contract is huge, he is a 6-time all star and a guy who Deron Williams wanted to play with. This put the Nets’ talent level well over the Mavericks, which eventually convinced Deron Williams to resign with the team.
  • Deron Williams resigns with the Nets. They become instant title contenders and all the trades that the Nets had done since Billy King arrived instantly look like good moves.

The Nets offseason is still not over, and there are more moves to make, including if Dwight Howard will come before the start of next season. But right now, Billy King looks like the smartest man in basketball and is the early favorite for executive of the year in the NBA.