The New Jersey Nets have named Billy King as the team’s new general manager, Nets Principal Owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced today. King succeeds Rod Thorn, who is stepping down as the team’s president after 10 years at the helm. As per club policy, terms of King’s contract were not released.
“I am very pleased Billy King is coming on board as Nets General Manager,” said Prokhorov. “He has all of the qualities we’ve been looking for in a candidate: professionalism, good relations with the league, players and agents, and strong communications skills. He will be an excellent fit with Head Coach Avery Johnson. Most importantly, Billy is ambitious. He wants to win. This is what I felt when I met with him and why he will be a strong addition to the Nets organization.”
“I am very excited about joining the Nets organization,” said King. “I want to thank Mr. Prokhorov and his executive team for the opportunity to oversee a franchise that has such a vibrant owner, an outstanding coach in Avery Johnson, and possesses the combination of young talent, cap space and draft choices that will allow us to build a squad that will be able to contend for an NBA title.”
King replaces Rod Thorn, who took over the reins of the team on June 2, 2000, and during his tenure, led the Nets to two NBA Finals appearances, two Eastern Conference titles and four Atlantic Division titles, the most successful stretch in the team’s NBA history.
“Rod Thorn is a legendary figure in the NBA, a man of true character and class,” said Prokhorov. “He has been nothing but committed and supportive during the transition to new ownership, and continues to share his wisdom and provide guidance for the Nets. I wish him all of the wonderful things he deserves. I will always consider him a great friend of the Nets.”
King joins the Nets after spending 10 years with the Philadelphia 76ers organization, serving as the team’s president from 2003-2007. King joined the 76ers on June 2, 1997 as vice president of basketball administration, a role in which he served as the point person for basketball operations. Less than a year later he was promoted to general manager, a position he held until being promoted to team president following the 2002-03 season.
During his 10-year tenure, King guided the team to five consecutive playoff appearances (1999-2003), including the 2000-01 season in which the Sixers captured the Atlantic Division Title on the heels of a 56-26 season and went on to win their first Eastern Conference Championship since 1983, to advance to the 2001 NBA Finals.
Before joining the 76ers, King served as an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers under Larry Brown for four seasons. He joined the professional ranks after spending four seasons as an assistant at Illinois State University under Head Coach Bob Bender. He also spent one year as a color analyst for ESPN’s basketball coverage of the Ohio Valley Conference.
Holding several roles within the USA Basketball program throughout his career, King has served as a member of USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team Program Advisory Panel, on USA Basketball’s Board of Directors, as treasurer of USA Basketball and as an athlete representative on the 1997-2000 executive committee. King also served on the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team Committees for the 1997-2000 and 2001-04 terms.
During his collegiate career, King was an outstanding defensive player on Duke University’s nationally ranked teams in the late 1980s and received the Henry Iba Corinthian National Defensive Player of the Year award following his senior season. King helped the Blue Devils to a 112-27 record, an average of 28 wins per season as Duke went to the Final Four twice, won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship and two ACC Tournament titles. In 1987, he helped the USA Basketball Men’s World University Games silver-medal squad to a 7-1 record.