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Thursday, June 12, 2014
Nets offseason breakdown: Billy King

By Mike Mazzeo

This is the 14th installment of our daily Nets player-by-player breakdown, with an emphasis on what’s to come for next season.

BILLY KING, GENERAL MANAGER

Year in review: King was busy this past offseason. He helped hire coach Jason Kidd, traded a stockpile of future first-round picks for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, drafted Mason Plumlee and signed Shaun Livingston, Andrei Kirilenko, Andray Blatche (re-signed) and Alan Anderson.

During the season, King acquired Marquis Teague and Marcus Thornton via trade, and Jason Collins and Jorge Gutierrez via free agency. The GM hoped all the moves would make the Nets a championship contender, but they were ousted in the second round by the two-time defending champion Miami Heat in five games.

Billy King
Billy King's offseason may be as busy as last year's.
Role moving forward: King has a ton of work to do this offseason. Garnett could retire. Pierce, Garnett’s good buddy and long-time teammate, is an unrestricted free agent, though the Nets have his Bird Rights, meaning they could pay him more than any other team. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are both coming off surgery, but could very well be shopped to other teams. Kirilenko (player option), Blatche (player option, said he’ll opt out), Livingston (unrestricted, Nets can only offer at most taxpayer mini mid-level exception) and Collins (unrestricted) are all pending free agents. King also has said he wants to buy a draft pick. And then there’s Bojan Bogdanovic. The Nets have the European swingman’s rights, but it would be a surprise if he comes over this season.

Contract status: King signed a three-year contract extension in April 2013.

What they’re saying: “I don’t look at it as the sky is falling as much as we have some assets and things we can do and we’ll look at it.” -- King on the perception that his team lacks flexibility moving forward.

Should they bring him back: King may not agree, but the Nets do lack flexibility as far as their roster is concerned.

Joe Johnson ($23.2 million), Williams ($19.8 million), Lopez ($15.7 million), Garnett ($12 million) and Thornton ($8.6 million) are all on the books for 2014-15 at huge cap numbers.

King could surprise everyone again by making another blockbuster trade and changing all of that.

The best-case scenario may be everyone coming back and Williams, Lopez, Garnett and Pierce all staying healthy. King has contingency plans in case Garnett and Pierce decide to leave the organization. He also could be tasked with having to replace Livingston, something he could do via trade, perhaps.

The Nets do not have total control over a first-round pick until 2019: their unprotected 2014, 2016 and 2018 firsts belong to the Boston Celtics, while their 2015 and 2017 firsts can be swapped with the Atlanta Hawks and Celtics, respectively. Maintaining cap flexibility for the summer of 2016-17, when guys like Kevin Durant and Joakim Noah could become free agents, is key. So is avoiding the dreaded repeater tax in 2015-16. It doesn’t seem likely that owner Mikhail Prokhorov is going to get his championship by 2015. Good luck to any team in the Eastern Conference assuming Carmelo Anthony really does join LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.