Nets owner Mikhail Prokorov declared his team’s protracted negotiations with Denver for the services of G Carmelo Anthony a thing of the past last night, and while there’s no shortage of speculation regarding New York, Chicago and Houston‘s chances of landing the most famous of Stop Snitching advocates, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski heaps scorn upon the Brooklyn-bound franchise (“ownership and the marketing people wanted a star for Brooklyn, but made sure to pass the blame onto the general manager who couldn’t sell a dictator coach and an empty gym in Newark over Madison Square Garden and the United Center”)
The Nets are awful, and their GM, Billy King, is wise to build patiently with draft picks, young players and cap space. Still, Prokhorov declared title or bust within five years, and it was clear he was publicly blaming King for how these trade talks played out. In recent days, members of Prokhorov’s inner-circle were grumbling to American basketball friends that they criticized King for failing to get a deal done. “They keep telling us it’s 90 percent complete and nothing happens, one associate told Yahoo! Sports.
The inability to get direct access to Anthony made the Nets have to take the word of Anthony’s associates, and they had their own agenda: Get him to Jersey, get him the three-year, $65 million contract and gain entrance to the Russian’s personal empire.
Now, King’s job gets harder to make a deal, because rivals will know that Prokhorov will undercut him on a moment’s notice. It was a destructive scene for King, whom several sources believed didn’t know Prokhorov was ending the talks for Anthony until the owner marched into a news conference on live television.
Detroit Pistons president Joe Dumars didn’t get a call from King to tell him the three-way deal was dead but merely a text message. And that didn’t come until well into the news conference, when people had already started messaging him about Prokhorov’s public pronouncement. King didn’t reach out until then, because as the owner only half-jokingly said in the news conference: “I am not sure that Billy King knows the owner had ended the trade talks.”