Nets name Kiki Vandeweghe 'special assistant to president'
The New Jersey Nets have named Kiki Vandeweghe Special Assistant to the President, Nets President Rod Thorn announced today. His duties will include working closely with Thorn in preparing for the 2008 NBA Draft and in the evaluation of current and future player personnel.
“We are very pleased to welcome Kiki to the Nets,” said Thorn. “Kiki has been a mainstay in the league for almost two decades, first as an All-Star player and then as a front office executive. His experience in both areas will be an invaluable asset to the franchise, and we look forward to his contributions.”
Vandeweghe served as general manager of the Denver Nuggets from 2001-2006, where he oversaw all aspects of basketball operations for the team. In his five years in Denver, Vandeweghe drastically reshaped the look and future of the Nuggets. In the summer of 2003, Vandeweghe lured free agents Andre Miller, Jon Barry, Earl Boykins and Voshon Lenard to Denver and selected reigning Final Four MVP Carmelo Anthony with the third pick in the draft. Teamed with All-Rookie First Team forward Nenę and veteran Marcus Camby – both of whom Vandeweghe acquired in a draft-day deal from New York in 2002 - the Nuggets improved their win total by 26 games and reached the postseason for the first time since 1995. The 26-game improvement was the most ever by a team that won less than 20 games the year before. His club also became the first in the history of the NBA to go from less than 20 wins to the playoffs the next year (since going to an 82-game schedule in 1976). The following season, Vandeweghe engineered a trade with New Jersey to acquire All-Star forward Kenyon Martin.
Prior to joining the Nuggets, Vandeweghe spent two seasons as an assistant coach and director of player development for the Dallas Mavericks. Under his tutelage, Dirk Nowitzki blossomed into a superstar and helped lead Dallas to its first playoff appearance in more than a decade.
Vandeweghe began his 13-year playing career with Denver in 1980. Originally selected with the 11th overall pick of the 1980 NBA Draft by Dallas, he was acquired on Dec. 3, 1980 and played the following four seasons for the Nuggets. A two-time All-Star while with Denver, Vandeweghe continued his playing career in Portland for four and a half seasons, followed by three and a half seasons in New York, before concluding his career with the L.A. Clippers in 1993. Over his 13-year NBA career Vandeweghe’s teams qualified for the postseason in 12 seasons. In 810 games, Vandeweghe posted NBA averages of 19.7 points on 52.5% shooting, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
Ernest Maurice Vandeweghe, III was born Aug. 1, 1958, in Weisbaden, Germany, where his father was stationed as an Air Force physician. His nickname, Kiki, was given to him early in childhood and is German for curly headed.
A native of Los Angeles, Vandeweghe attended UCLA from ’76-80 and led the Bruins to the national title game his senior season under head coach Larry Brown. He received his degree in economics and was a Rhodes Scholar finalist. Following retirement from the NBA, Vandeweghe formed a financial planning business and ran basketball clinics throughout the United States and Europe.
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