How did Brooklyn get here? Billy King's worst moves as Nets GM

by
Debby Wong / Reuters

The curtain finally came down on the Billy King era in Brooklyn on Sunday, and what a tenure it was.

We'll never know just how much of the Nets' mismanagement under King can be tied to Mikhail Prokhorov's win-now agenda, but the fact of the matter is that in five-plus years, King mortgaged the next half-decade of Nets basketball to construct a historically expensive team that topped out at 49 wins, won just one postseason series, and now sits at 10-27, without any viable path to improvement in the near future.

So how did the Nets get here? Here's a quick trip down (an excruciatingly painful) memory lane at some of King's worst decisions:

August 2010: Traded Courtney Lee to the Rockets in four-team deal that netted Troy Murphy, who played only 18 games for the Nets.

February 2011: Traded Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, a 2011 first-round pick (that turned into Enes Kanter), and a 2013 first-round pick (that turned into Gorgui Dieng) to the Jazz in exchange for Deron Williams.

Williams made one All-Star appearance for the Nets, and went on to miss 47 games due to injury over the next four years. Brooklyn re-signed him to a five-year deal worth nearly $100 million in the midst of that stretch before waiving him and buying him out of the final two years of his contract.

March 2012: As part of a three-player deal, the Nets traded their 2012 first-rounder - and only protected it in the event it landed in the top three - to the Trail Blazers in exchange for Gerald Wallace. The Nets then handed the beat-up 29-year-old a four-year extension worth $40 million, while Portland used the sixth overall pick to select Damian Lillard, who would become an All-NBA point guard within two years.

Wallace averaged 9.1 points and five rebounds while posting a PER of 12.8 in parts of two seasons with the Nets, who were 15-29 and had the NBA's sixth-worst record the day King made this deal.

July 2012: Traded five players, including Anthony Morrow and Jordan Farmar, plus a 2013 first-round pick and a 2017 second-round pick, to the Hawks in exchange for All-Star Joe Johnson, who had four years and roughly $90 million remaining on what was considered one of the most unmovable contracts in the NBA.

July 2012: In addition to locking up Williams and trading for Johnson in the summer of 2012, King and the Nets also gave Brook Lopez - who was coming off a season in which he appeared in five games - a four-year, $60-plus million extension. Lopez went on to miss 83 games over the next three seasons before King signed him to another extension - worth $63 million over three years - in 2015.

July 2013: Following a first-round elimination at the hands of the Rose-less Bulls to cap their first season in Brooklyn, the Nets traded five players (including Wallace), unprotected first-round picks in 2014, 2016, and 2018, and the right to swap picks in 2017 to the Celtics in exchange for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry (plus D.J. White).

The certifiable blockbuster was supposed to make the Nets legitimate title contenders and make good on Prokhorov's guarantee to build a champion within five years. Instead, the Nets sputtered along to 44 wins, the No. 6 seed in a weak Eastern Conference, and a second-round exit after barely surviving a seven-game series against the young Raptors.

Pierce and Terry played one season for the Nets (Terry was used in a deal that netted Brooklyn Marcus Thornton, who was later flipped in a deal that landed the Nets Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev), while Garnett lasted a season-and-a-half before being shipped to Minnesota in what was actually a Nets-friendly trade for Thaddeus Young last February.