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Nets hire Billy King to run basketball operations

By David Aldridge, TNT analyst
Posted Jul 14 2010 11:21AM

Former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Billy King has accepted an executive position to run basketball operations for the New Jersey Nets and will be formally introduced at a news conference Thursday.

King and former Cleveland Cavaliers GM Danny Ferry both interviewed for the position over the weekend and were the frontrunners for the job over former Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard. Jeff Bower, fired on Tuesday as the New Orleans Hornets' GM, had also interviewed for the position but pulled his name out of consideration earlier this month.

King was president of the 76ers from 2003 through December of 2007, when he was fired by team chairman Ed Snider and replaced by Ed Stefanski -- ironically, the GM of the Nets at the time. King had been general manager in Philly from 1998 through 2003 but took complete control of the basketball side of the team after coach Larry Brown left and former president Pat Croce left the team following a power struggle with Snider.

King's tenure as the Sixers' basketball boss was uneven. He was able to surround Allen Iverson with enough talent for the 76ers to make the Finals in 2001 and for Iverson to win league MVP honors that season. But Philly never reached those heights again, as King made a series of questionable financial decisions, including giving journeyman forward Kenny Thomas a $50 million contract and center Samuel Dalembert a $64 million deal. He gambled that Chris Webber and Iverson could coexist when he traded for Webber in 2005, and the team made the playoffs that season. But they didn't get there in 2006, and by 2007, Webber's knees had deteriorated to the point where he and the team agreed to a buyout.

After Brown's departure for Detroit in 2003, King also went through several head coaches, including Randy Ayers, Jim O'Brien and Mo Cheeks.

But King drafted pretty well during his tenure as president, taking forward Andre Iguodala in the first round in 2004, guard Lou Williams in the second round in 2005, guard Thabo Sefolosha in the first round in 2006 and forward Thaddeus Young in the first in 2007.

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