The Nets likely will fly under the radar in 2015-16. General manager Billy King isn't about to look in his rear-view mirror and ponder why the roster he put together the past three seasons advanced out of the first round of the playoffs only once.
"If I knew, we'd be sitting here saying the parade was nice," King said. "I had some reasons, but there's no reason to throw it out there now because there's no reason to look backwards. You learn from it and you try to build on it. But there's no reason now to say, 'Well, we shouldn't have did this or that.' It was done. I think the biggest thing we were able to accomplish now is we were able to say whatever we did, we did.
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"Now we are moving forward and not looking backwards and dwelling on that. We were able to get some young talent, and athletic, and reduce our payroll from a $90 million taxpayer to two years later being zero."
King also addressed a number of other topics:
On Deron Williams' buyout: "As I said when the buyout happened, I'm happy for Deron. I think he's getting a fresh start in Dallas so I'm happy for him. Unfortunately it didn't work out here to the best of all our likings, but I wish him the best. And I do sincerely mean that. When I spoke to him on the phone afterwards, I said I'm happy for yourself and your family that now you're in a place where you're around your family and now basketball success will come with you. For us it's the same, it's a new start for us as well, and I think both parties have a chance to start fresh."
On needing Brook Lopez's leadership this season: "That's one thing at the end of the season when I met with Brook, I said, 'We definitely want you back, but part of that we want you back is we want you to be more of a leader. We want you to be more vocal. You don't have to be rah-rah and jumping around waving towels. But I need you to push this group and help guide it where you want it to go.' I said, 'You've been here for a long time, but now, if you're going to come back, you've got to put your stamp on it a little bit.' And I think he's accepted that. He was in Vegas when we got the group together. He's been here since early September, he's been around, pretty much all summer, stopping in. So I think he is taking ownership to it."
On rookie forward Chris McCullough's progress and if he'll play at all this season: "He's on the court, he's doing some stuff, rehabbing. We'll give a timetable on exactly where we think he'll be after [the first] preseason game. We'll sit down with him and his agent and everybody and really just walk through it. I have an idea in my mind of what we want to do with him, but I want to sit down with him and with his agent and explain it. He has a pretty good understanding and after that meeting on the 5th, we'll give a complete timetable. It won't be, 'This will be when he's back on the court,' because the goal is he's a young kid. So we don't want to just rush him back onto the court just to get him back out there. He has a long career ahead of him, so we want to get him to the point where he's strong in both legs, and when he comes back he's ready to be playing for a long time. Not get him back on the court and have a setback."
On worrying about yielding a potential high draft pick to the Celtics, who own the Nets' first-rounder in 2016: "We are not going to jeopardize the future going forward to protect this pick. There's nothing we can do about it at this point in time. We can't change it, so we don't want to spend money and ruin cap space so we don't give up a good pick to somebody in the future. I think we've got to make the decision, which we've done the last couple of years, what's best for the future going forward. Not, well we've got to do this because we may give Boston a good pick. We have no control over that, whether it's the 10th pick or if it's the 20th pick or 15. It's done."
On the team's newfound camaraderie: "I like the guys' attitudes towards each other. I think they have a genuine liking and care for each other. If you're willing to do that, then you're willing to sacrifice on both ends of the floor for each other."
On getting a D-League team to aid in young player development: "The goal is to have one. Hopefully next year. Sooner the better we can get that wrapped up."