New GM In The Fold

Nets Get Their \”King\”

By: NBASCOUT / Special to

After a long search, 44 year-old former 76ers executive Billy King has been named to the post of General Manager of the New Jersey Nets.* An official introduction is pending.

One of the key factors driving the hire was the fact that the new GM is a good fit with new Coach Avery Johnson. Avery approved the hire with considerable weight given to his opinion.

Outgoing President and General Manager Rod Thorn will go through the motions as he steps down on Friday according to reports. Vice President Bobby Marks will continue as the GM\’s right hand with some form of a promotion.

My hunch that Mr. King would be the Nets GM led to my selection of his picture on my previous feature entitled \”New Prez/GM on Way?\” Billy is a \”class act\” on many levels and his professionalism and communication skills should serve him well as he seeks to embellish his resume in a second tour of duty running a basketball team.

Mikhail Prokhorov said as much in announcing his selection. Ironically, former Nets GM Ed Stefanski was hired by the 76ers to replace Mr. King and now the King comes to New Jersey.

Mr. Prokhorov, Rod Thorn, Avery Johnson and Bobby Marks all participated in making this hire according to reports. Citing the fact that he also wanted someone that was \”ambitious,\” perhaps Mr. Prokhorov felt that the Nets needed \’younger blood\’ in this critical position to boost the team\’s fortunes.

For his part, 69 year-old outgoing President and General Manager Rod Thorn has been nothing but spectacular during his tenure and it is hoped that he finds his next challenge soon as he is not one content to retire. He will be an asset to any organization. After losing both of his parents in what can only be called one of the most difficult years of his career, it was time for a change.

King joined the 76ers in 1997 and spent a total of 10 years with the team. He was elevated to the General Managership within a year and became President in 2003-2007.

The 76ers team under Billy King appeared in five consecutive playoffs (1999-2003). They also earned a Division Title and Conference Championship in 2000-01 enroute to the 2001 NBA Finals posting a 56-26 regular season mark.

Mr. King has many other distinguished credentials to his name, but serving as an Assistant Coach for the Indiana Pacers under Larry Brown is most significant for me. He learned that the game has to played the \”right way.\”

Since future Hall-of-Fame Coach Larry Brown mentored future Hall-of-Fame Coach Greg Popovich who in turn mentored Avery Johnson, I think that a nice philosophical convergence exists. This is the fit that has me excited about the future of the Nets.

The \”King\” didn\’t arrive in New Jersey. The Nets got the real King.

NBASCOUT is an independent freelance sportswriter that covers the NBA and the New Jersey Nets. He is not affiliated with the National Basketball Association. Copyright 2010 by NBASCOUT, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the express written consent of the author. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily this website. You may e-mail NBASCOUT in care-of his wife, who writes for children, at

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