Nets general manager Billy King speaks to the media in...

Nets general manager Billy King speaks to the media in 2007, when he was GM of the Philadelphia 76ers. (Sept. 28, 2007) Credit: AP

Billy King was talking to the media Wednesday about the Nets' draft plans when the guy who soon will be the most coveted free-agent point guard poked his head into the room. That would be Deron Williams.

Essentially, that's life for the Nets this week. Although the immediate focus will be on tonight's NBA draft, the true spotlight will start shining on the Nets beginning at midnight Sunday. Re-signing Williams and using free agency to reshape a roster with only four players under contract are the primary concerns for King. The Nets don't have a first-round pick and hold only the No. 57 overall selection.

Let's just say these are somewhat anxious times for the Nets' general manager.

"There's certainty coming," King said. "That's the thing about it and we're prepared either way. The greatest thing I learned from Coach K. [is] when something happens, you don't look back, you go to the next play.''

But in the meantime, there's the matter of getting the draft out of the way, so to speak. After giving away their pick to the Blazers in a trade deadline deal for Gerald Wallace, the Nets' only legitimate shot at getting into the first round is to trade.

"If we wanted to, we can get into the first round," King said. "Now, it's will we? I don't know. I didn't know if we were going to move up to get MarShon [Brooks] the day before the draft [last year]. It just happened. And that's why we focus so hard on getting our rankings on how we'd take guys, not how we think it's going to go. If guys start falling, you sort of have things lined up.

"If you ask right now if we're going to get in the first round, I'd say no. But that could easily change."

King never really considered this a strong draft class. He said that's why he's not bothered about forking over a first-rounder even though Wallace didn't opt into the final year of his contract and became a free agent.

"I think the draft became hyped as a great draft because a lot of people know the names," King said.

"I think it's a good draft. Is it a great draft? I don't think so, but I think there is some good talent in there and I think there will be some guys taken in the second round -- could be 57 or it could be in the 40s -- that are projected to be better than some guys taken in the lottery."

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