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NETS Now Shopping for Two

April 25th, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.With the 2011 NBA Draft just two months away, the Nets are already game-planning their approach to a pair of picks (No. 27 and 35 or 36, depending on the Lottery). Whether that means selecting players or acquiring other assets, theyll have an eye on all available talent because, beginning May 1, the Nets assume control of basketball operations for the NBA D-Leagues Springfield Armor.

The one thing is, when we started this process, it was something that we were excited about, said Nets general manager Billy King, in a conference call. Now thats its about to come to fruition on May 1, were even more excited. I had a conversation this morning to talk with (Armor owner) Mike (Savit) about our excitement, and our goals and trying to get to where we want to get to in putting a good product on the floor: a team that can help develop players for us at the NBA level and also put a team out there that Springfield can be proud of.

The two franchises are entering into a hybrid affiliation, one that marks the Nets as the Armors sole NBA affiliate and follows an example set by the Houston Rockets and Rio Grande Valley Vipers in 2009. While four other NBA teams have partnered with D-League teams, each owns the minor league franchise. The hybrid model most closely mirrors that of Minor League Baseball: local ownership runs all business operations, including arena management, but leaves basketball personnel, roster and operations decisions to the NBA team.

The first decision will be who serves as head coach, as position that might encompass coaching and personnel roles. King said both current head coach Dee Brown and his assistant, Kevin Whitted, were candidates for the staff openings. The Nets will eventually hire, at minimum, a head coach, an assistant and a two-person training staff.

If King feels the personnel duties will best be handled by a separate individual, he and assistant GM Bobby Marks will create and fill a basketball GM position for the Armor. Though the proposed staff will assist the Nets during training camp and some other instances, they will not hold co-duties, focusing on the Armor as their priority as while growing within their roles.

Ideally, when an opening happens on Averys staff, that person (the Armors head coach) would take over, King explained. Wed like the assistant coach in the D-League to step up at that point, to take over as the head coach. Wed like to use it as a teaching tool, a way for guys to develop to join Averys staff in the future.

King is well aware of other single affiliations, from Houston-Rio Grande Valley to the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros, peppering his answers with references to such situations. Former Toros GM Dell Demps now helms that position for the New Orleans Hornets.

As the Nets GM prospects for NBA-quality talent, the scouting staff now shifts some attention to players that might be developed on the Armors roster. The Nets will be able to sign up to three training camp invitees cut from the NBA roster directly to Springfield, if they choose to play in the D-League. That allows the staff to build upon the foundation of work begun in preseason and/or summer league.

Were in charge of providing the personnel: the head coach, assistant coach its really big, because well be in charge of every basketball decision there. Now, were looking for the Draft, and were not just looking at draft from the Nets point of view, were looking at it for guys we may potentially draft to the D-League, providing players there. Its not just looking to fill our roster weve got another roster to fill as well.

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