• BREAKING NEWS WATCH LIVE: ABC7 News at 11 a.m.

espn

Billy King: Nets bigger than 1 person

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King called Jason Kidd's abrupt and stunning departure to the Milwaukee Bucks "a big bump."

But King thinks the Nets will be able to overcome it because "the franchise is bigger than one person."

"Well, if I read all you guys and watch the TV, it's panic. It's pandemonium. Everything's falling down," King said Tuesday morning shortly after the Nets traded Kidd's rights to the Bucks in exchange for two future second-round draft picks (2015, '19).

"No, it's a bump. It's a big bump. But it's something that we've got to overcome. ... The franchise is bigger than one person. If you sit here and say one person leaves and everything comes falling down, then you don't have an organization. So we're not where we were like a week ago, but I think we can get back there quickly."

The Nets are already deep into their search for Kidd's replacement. King and assistant general managers Bobby Marks and Frank Zanin had dinner Monday night in New York with Lionel Hollins, who sources told ESPN.com is the top candidate to fill the team's head-coaching vacancy. King met with Hollins, the ex-coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, again Tuesday.

Asked during an interview with WFAN later Tuesday, King said his meetings with Hollins "went well."

"We met again today, and the meetings went well," King said. "So now, after I finish [this interview], I'll meet with the staff, talk to ownership and then look at our list and see if we have to go further because we've got a list that we'd like to go through if we need to."

The Nets would like to have a coach in place sooner rather than later, however, because the free-agency period has begun.

Hollins led the Grizzlies to three consecutive playoff appearances in his last three seasons in Memphis. In 2012-13, his last year at the helm, the Grizzlies won 56 games and advanced all the way to the Western Conference finals. The two sides ultimately decided to part ways, and Hollins' contract was not renewed, apparently because there were philosophical differences between him and ownership.

"If you look at track record and what he did in Memphis, they consistently got better every year," King said.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Nets are also considering veteran coaches Mark Jackson and George Karl, both current ESPN analysts, for the vacancy. Ettore Messina, who has ties to Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov from his days coaching CSKA Moscow, is also a candidate.

If Brooklyn decides to go into the college ranks, the names of UConn coach Kevin Ollie and Florida coach Billy Donovan could come up.

A source told ESPN NewYork.com that the Nets reached out to Ollie to gauge his interest, but Ollie elected to remain at UConn. He recently signed a five-year contract extension with UConn that could be worth up to $3 million per season.

King was asked how long it would take for the Nets to have a head coach in place.

"I'm not sure," he told WFAN. "I don't foresee it being long, but I don't foresee it being today."

King learned of Kidd's intentions to leave for Milwaukee on Wednesday. Sources told ESPN.com that Kidd, who was hired at the start of last season, went to Nets ownership and requested authority to make player personnel decisions in addition to his head-coaching duties. That request was denied, and the Nets granted Kidd permission to speak with the Bucks. The teams eventually decided on compensation for Kidd. The Bucks made the Kidd hiring official Tuesday.

The Nets will not pursue tampering charges against the Bucks.

"When something like that happens, you've gotta have clear-cut proof," King told WFAN.

"I'm not gonna take shots at him," King said earlier Tuesday. "For the year he worked for us here, he did a hell of a job. He got us from where we were [10-21 record to 44-38], and a lot of you guys were asking the question [after the slow start], 'Is he on the hot seat?' and I said, 'No.' And then a lot of you guys were asking me off the record, thinking I would say something different, and I said, 'No.' I supported him then, and I supported him at the end of the year. I think he has the ability to be a great coach, and I think he will be."

Despite reports to the contrary, King said there were no philosophical differences between himself and Kidd. King also does not expect Kidd's decision to affect his relationship with his agent, Jeff Schwartz.

"I don't look at it from a personal standpoint," King said. "This is business, and things happen. People look at jobs, people judge people. If they don't like a job somebody's doing people make decisions, whether it's coaching or management, and that happens. But I don't look at it as any personal affront to me. Whatever he felt he needed to do, he did. And when ownership did, they did."

Kidd is widely considered the best player in the franchise's NBA era. He led the team from the basement to back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals. His No. 5 jersey hangs in the rafters -- although there's been an outcry on social media for the Nets to take it down.

"I don't think that has any impact on any of this," King said. "He earned that right. I don't think just because this happens, you overreact and say we're going to take this down, or take our ball and go home. This happened."

King said assistants Eric Hughes and Sean Sweeney probably will go to the Bucks with Kidd. Assistants John Welch and Roy Rogers are expected to coach the team's summer league team in Orlando, Florida. King said that ultimately the new head coach will decide who he wants on his staff.

King reiterated that he expected Kevin Garnett back. Garnett, who will make $12 million in 2014-15, will be playing in his 20th NBA season, should he return.

"He was fine with the list," King told WFAN when asked if Garnett had been made aware of it and asked to give his input.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.

Related Video
Challenges Facing Kidd
Challenges Facing Kidd
George Karl discusses the challenges facing new Bucks coach Jason Kidd.
Related Topics:
sports espn milwaukee bucks gm billy king jason kidd brooklyn nets nba
(Copyright ©2014 ESPN Internet Ventures.)
Load Comments