Nets GM Billy King on Adding Talent Around Deron Williams: “We Weren’t Going to Rebuild, We Were Going to Try to Do Something Special”

July 16, 2012 – 7:30 am by Eric Schmoldt

The Brooklyn Nets couldn’t find a way to get star center Dwight Howard on their roster. That didn’t keep them from vastly improving their team, however, this offseason. The Nets landed Joe Johnson in a trade, signed free agent Gerald Wallace, re-signed Brook Lopez and convinced Deron Williams to stay in town.

Williams isn’t ready to make bold predictions like the Nets winning the East and making the NBA Finals, but at the least that no longer is a completely far-fetched idea.

Deron Williams and Nets GM Billy King joined WFAN in New York with Joe and Evan to discuss why Williams stuck with the Nets, the expectations for the team as they prepare for their move to Brooklyn this fall, the rivalry brewing with the Knicks, the Olympic team, Kobe Bryant’s comments that this Olympic team would be the Dream Team, King putting this Nets’ roster together and the Nets now being a playoff team.

Was your decision made because you saw the roster that was shaping up, including getting Joe Johnson?:

“Yeah, definitely. Billy did a great job of making the Joe Johnson trade happen and signing Gerald Wallace. That helped getting me and resigning Brook, so we have our core intact for next year. … We’re still working on some other pieces you need coming off the bench, but we’re definitely going to be a competitive team next year.”

Do you believe this is a team that can win the Eastern Conference?:

“I’m not going to go making any bold predictions like that. [Miami], that’s the NBA champs and they have a great team. We have a lot of work to do and we’ve got to see how we come together as a team. That’s the biggest thing. … We’ve got to come together and form some chemistry and we’re going to try to do that as quick as possible. We definitely feel like we’re a playoff team. We definitely feel like we can challenge the Celtics and the other guys that are up there, the Pacers. That’s what we’re shooting for, making the playoffs, and then after that anything can happen.”

On the rivalry that could be shaping up between the Knicks and Nets:

“They’ve got a couple years together now, so we’re going to have to get the gym … but it could grow into a great rivalry, especially for the years to come. We’re definitely excited about that. I’ve got a lot of friends on that team, a lot of guys I’m playing with right now in the Olympics. It’s definitely going to be a fun rivalry, a friendly rivalry.”

On the Olympic team:

“We had a great team in ’08 and I thought it would be hard to top that team, but I think we might’ve done that. The five of us that played last time and won a gold medal are better. You look at LeBron, he’s a better player. Carmelo, he’s a better player. Me and [Chris Paul] as well. Then we added a lot of young guys that contribute. Of course, Kevin Durant is the best scorer in the world right now. … It’s just so easy on us because you don’t have to play 35 or 40 minutes. We’re out there for five minutes at a time and we can just give it our all. That’s going to be our advantage.”

Do you agree with Kobe that this team could beat the 1992 Dream Team?:

“I’m not going to make that media mistake. … Kobe’s a veteran, too, but Kobe’s a confident guy, to say the least. I think we’d definitely give them a run. I see where he’s coming from. He’s saying we probably wouldn’t beat them in a seven game series, but you never know, we could get hot one game. I think it’s just tough to compare us to them. There were 11 Hall of Famers on that team and we’re still young into our careers. We still have a lot to do, a lot to learn.”

How good do you think Anthony Davis is going to be?:

“He’s going to be a special player. You could see that in college, what he did as a freshman. He was kind of a late-bloomer in high school, which is crazy. He was a point guard, so he has all the perimeter skills still and now he’s adding his back-to-the-basket game. He’s athletic; his defensive game is great.”

Nets general manager Billy King on getting Deron Williams and putting the team together:

“It’s a team effort. … We’ve been mapping it out and mapping it out, but I think when we did the Joe and Gerald Wallace trade, it was more looking down the road and building. I needed that 3 and I didn’t want to go through free agency. … We weren’t going to try to rebuild, we were going to try to do something special.”

King on his team going from a lottery team to a playoff team:

“That was the plan is to try and add pieces. Last year we didn’t do a lot. … I wanted to keep the assets to be able to get a Joe Johnson. … Going forward, the great thing about it is we still have our picks. We have assets to continue to build.”

Listen to Deron Williams and Billy King on WFAN in New York here

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