Brooklyn Nets News Beat 9/21/17: BPI Rankings, Billy King Talks Celtics Deal
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 06: Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King speaks to the media during a press conference to anounce the Brooklyn Nets D-League team the Long Island Nets will play at the renovated Nassau Coliseum for the 2017-18 season at the Barclays Center on November 6, 2015 in Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Today’s Brooklyn Nets news features their 2017-2018 ranking on ESPN’s BPI, and some interesting Billy King quotes from a recent podcast.

ESPN released their Basketball Power Index early Wednesday afternoon, and the Nets still sit in the bottom of the league.

Though a definite improvement from last year’s 20-62 record, ESPN predicts a 29-53 record for Brooklyn next season. Unfortunately, that still places them 28th in the league, and a long reach from the playoffs.

The only teams projected to finish worse than the Nets, are the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks. Both of whom, are considered tanking next season.

Elsewhere in Nets culture, former General Manager Billy King gives some insight on his tenure with the franchise in a recent podcast with Nets Daily.

King served as the Nets’ General Manager from July 2010 to January 2016. A lot of good things happened during his stint with Brooklyn, and also a lot of bad.

On his first move as the General Manager, King says they were after a star.

“The goal from that point was to get a franchise guy, someone to be an anchor that we could build with.”

The first player King and the front office chased? Chris Paul, who was playing for the New Orleans Hornets.

“The first guy we went after was Chris Paul, and I feel like a lot of people don’t know that.”

A trade for Paul would never finalize, and King has a pretty good feeling as to why.

“Dell (Demps) was the General Manager at the time, and I think he didn’t want to be the first person to trade Chris Paul.”

Unfortunately for King, his Nets’ front office will always be remembered as the one that made the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce trade. It would set the franchise back for years.

On how it all started, he says Pierce was the true target.

“I felt we needed leadership, that’s what lead to the trade. I reached out to Danny (Ainge), because I had an interest in Paul Pierce.”

Pierce was coming off a season with the Boston Celtics where he averaged 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. It makes sense King thought him the perfect addition to an already established Nets team.

On a potential deal for Pierce, King surprised us here.

“I think the deal for Pierce was Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and a first (round pick).”

That’s an incredibly cheap return for Pierce, despite the first round pick. Humphries and Brooks were averaging a combined 11.2 points per game that year on cheap salaries.

If he knew that Pierce wasn’t going to resign the following summer, King says he wouldn’t have pulled the trigger on the deal.

“If knowing now we wouldn’t have been able to sign Paul Pierce, we wouldn’t have done it. The goal was to have a two-year window, keep Paul the second year to go with KG, and keep going.” 

Beyond that, the former Nets General Manager says his biggest wish is they could have landed Dwight Howard.

“Even for Dwight, who’s been pretty rocky since he left Orlando, I think if we could have gotten him to go with Deron (Williams), it would have been pretty good. We would have flexibility going forward, and they were young enough so. That would have been ideal, and that’s what we were planning for all along.”

Though Nets’ fans could never enjoy talking the Celtics deal, or other moves made during Kings’ tenure, these are some pretty cool behind the scene insights.

Writer, reader, entertainer. New York Knicks and the Carolina Panthers. Hoodie Melo is my spirit animal.