Nets GM Billy King could be wheeler, dealer in NBA draft

Nets GM Billy King talks to media at

Nets GM Billy King talks to media at a press conference regarding the release of head coach Avery Johnson. (Dec. 27, 2012) (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

Like most NBA general managers, Billy King probably kept his cellphone charger handy these past few days.

As the hours dwindle leading up to Thursday night's draft at the Barclays Center and the Nets figure out which direction they'll go with their lone scheduled selection, King's call log is likely overflowing with inquiries. Do they simply stand pat with the No. 22 selection in the first round? Will they acquire an extra pick?

Only time will tell.

"This week, now the phone calls come in a little more, the trade offers start coming in a little more," King said. "You have a lot of guys, whether they're [picking] 30th or whatever, have [player] buyouts coming. So now the intensity picks up. [Wednesday] it's good and Thursday it's fun."

Given their salary-cap situation, leaving them little roster flexibility this offseason, the Nets could be active in the draft, meaning King could be wheeling and dealing. The Nets have $3 million in cash they could potentially use in a draft-day transaction, such as purchasing a second-round pick. Throw in MarShon Brooks reportedly being on the trading block, and the ingredients may be ripe for some sort of swap.

Numbering the players on their draft board aids the Nets in case they decide to go the trade route.

"Our guys, we have them rated one through 60, and when guys come off the board, we just take them off the board," King said. "We don't change as we get going, and if guys start falling, if we had a guy that our guys rate 15 and he starts falling, well then we'll try to move up to get him. That's why I like having it ranked, because you're focused on trying to acquire players you want rather than focusing on who you are going to take at 22."

King scoffed at the rumblings of this being a watered-down draft class, one that's possibly being loaded with mostly rotational players and not a true franchise player or obvious difference-maker. It's way too early to make such declarative statements in King's estimation.

"You know what, though? Every time you start saying a weak draft or whatever, you go back and look at it and there are guys that are taken that become franchise guys," King said. "Gilbert Arenas was a second-round pick. So, I think there are always going to be guys, in this draft especially, that people will look back and say, 'I can't believe they passed him up.' "

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