Here's what bothers Billy King most about fateful Celtics-Nets trade


Everyone has regrets in life. Billy King's just happened to alter the trajectory of two NBA franchises.

King was the Brooklyn Nets general manager who pulled the trigger on one of those most lopsided trades in league history. On the night of the 2013 NBA Draft, King's Nets sent Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans and Kris Joseph along with their first-round draft picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018 and the right to swap first-rounders in 2017 to the Boston Celtics, who in return gave Brooklyn the aging trio Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.

The rest is history: Garnett and Pierce were out of Brooklyn by February 2015, while Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge used the Nets' treasure chest of draft assets to land Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum (among others) and swing a trade for Kyrie Irving.

King spoke recently with Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated's "The Crossover" and (shocker) admitted he'd like a do-over on the trade. But specificially, there's one part of the deal that bothered him the most: the timing.

"I should have said, ‘Give me a day to think about it, let’s talk in the morning,” King told Mannix. “I should have regrouped everyone, and gone through it again. I should have told Danny, ‘Give me a day.’ I probably would have revamped it.

"I should have said, ‘Look, Danny, everything looks good. Let’s finish the draft and let’s talk in the morning.’ That’s one thing I would have done differently, for sure."

King said he agreed to the trade early on draft night and spent the rest of the evening convincing Garnett to play in Brooklyn. What the ex-GM wishes he would have done, though, was renegotiate the number of draft picks the Nets would give up or ask to remove the pick swap.

"I go back and forth all the time," King told Mannix.

King took full ownership of the disastrous trade, but did admit he faced some pressure from then-Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov to make a blockbuster deal. He even insisted he wouldn't have made the trade if he was GM of another team.

If that's the case, the Celtics should be forever grateful the Nets hired King way back in 2010 to set up a trade gift that kept on giving for five years straight.

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