General Managers typically get roasted in New York. People like Mike Tannenbaum, Jerry Reese, Sandy Alderson, James Dolan, and more recently Brian Cashman, always seem under fire. But one guy that has seemingly gotten a free pass is Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King.
There have been numerous moves that King’s made that have backfired tremendously. It started when King was doing anything and everything to appease Deron Williams, so he traded a 1st round pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gerald Wallace. Gerald Wallace!
That pick turned into Damian Lillard, while Wallace lasted a little over a season with the Nets. He didn’t come close to living up to expectations, and averaged under 10 points per game for the first time in a decade.
If King had held onto that 1st round pick, it could have made the difference in bringing Dwight Howard to the Nets, but he panicked because he was afraid of losing Deron Williams!
King continued to panic about losing Williams when he traded another 1st round pick to acquire Joe Johnson and his max-contract that pays him over $20 million per season. Johnson is an above-average player, but everyone can agree he’s no where close to being a max-contract player.
Prior to the 2013 NBA Draft, King went all in trading 3-first round picks (along with MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, and Gerald Wallace, among others) to the division rival Boston Celtics for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry.
While it didn’t look so bad at the time, this trade could go down as the worst in franchise history.
Jason Terry never made a meaningful impact in Brooklyn and was traded away mid-season. Paul Pierce just left after one season, Kevin Garnett wasn’t able to play more than 20 minutes per game, and he’s not getting younger.
At the current state of the Nets, Deron Williams’ ankles are shot and he doesn’t come close to resembling the player King traded for in February of 2011.
As King kept trying harder and harder to make Williams happy, his play kept deteriorating. Kyle Lowry made Deron look like a 90-year-old man in last season’s playoffs.
Joe Johnson continues to rake in $20 million per season, Kevin Garnett is making retirement plans, no one knows if Brook Lopez will go back to being the player he was, and the Nets are going backwards.
The Celtics meanwhile will continue to thank Billy King for giving Boston 3-first round picks for 3 over the hill players. For all that work King did, the Nets won just 5 playoff games while the Celtics are on the rise.
I find it truly amazing as to why King hasn’t been criticized or ridiculed for turning a promising situation in Brooklyn to an utter disaster. He’s been that bad.