This Week in Nets History: June 1
Nets hire Rod Thorn as general manager
Every Monday, we’ll take a look back and recognize significant dates in Nets history that occurred in the upcoming calendar week.
June 2, 2000
Rod Thorn is hired as Nets General Manager. The NBA Hall of Famer — a 2018 inductee — began his post-playing career on the bench with the New York Nets as an assistant coach in 1973-74, the season the Nets acquired Julius Erving and won their first ABA title. After coaching the St. Louis Spirits in the final ABA season, Thorn returned as a Nets assistant in 1976-77, the team’s first in the NBA. He moved on to a seven-year run as general manager in Chicago — drafting Michael Jordan in 1984 — and then 14 seasons as the NBA’s Executive VP of Basketball Operations. Thorn returned to the Nets in 2000, and over the next 14 months acquired Kenyon Martin, Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins, and Jason Kidd. The Kidd trade spurred the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals runs, and Thorn was named NBA Executive of the Year after the 2001-02 season. He later brought Vince Carter to the Nets in a 2004 trade. Thorn remained with the Nets through the 2009-10 season.
June 6, 1996
John Calipari is named Head Coach and Executive VP of Basketball Operations after leading UMass to the NCAA Final Four. Calipari drafted Kerry Kittles in 1996 and in 1997 swung a draft night trade for No. 2 overall pick Keith Van Horn, with both players going on to start for the franchise’s 2002 NBA Finals team. The Nets improved from 26-56 to 43-39 in Calipari’s second season, dropping a first-round playoff series to the Chicago Bulls, but a 3-17 start to the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season led to Calipari’s firing.
June 7, 1993
Tragedy strikes the franchise as Drazen Petrovic is killed in an automobile accident in Germany. An All-NBA Third Team selection in 1992-93, Petrovic was at the forefront of the wave of international talent into the NBA. In 195 games over 2½ seasons with the Nets, Petrovic averaged 19.5 points while shooting 51.1 percent overall and 43.7 percent from 3-point range. The Nets retired his No. 3 jersey later that year, and he was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2002.
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