Tag:Rod Thorn
Posted on: January 22, 2011 7:51 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2011 9:34 pm
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Kidd: Melo had reason to doubt Brooklyn

NEWARK, N.J. – Few players in the NBA have a better perspective on Carmelo Anthony’s erstwhile flirtation with becoming a New Jersey Net than Jason Kidd

Kidd, the player who revived the Nets franchise with back-to-back Finals appearances, was making his first appearance as an opposing player in his former team’s temporary home at the Prudential Center Saturday night. Kidd, who was traded to Dallas at the February 2008 trade deadline under somewhat similar circumstances facing Anthony, said he hasn’t spoken with Melo about the situation. But Kidd didn’t have to; he painted a pretty thorough picture to reporters of the dilemma that Anthony was wrestling with before the proposed trade to New Jersey blew up this past week. 

As to Issue No. 1, the Nets’ future home in Brooklyn, Kidd provided the grim perspective that only a player could have. 

“Unless it’s built, you can’t believe it,” Kidd said. “That’s the nature of the beast. You look at (Madison Square) Garden, they’re redoing the Garden. So until it’s built, guys can’t believe it. The weather and they’re saying it takes two years … well, I heard the same thing when I was here. So I don’t know how long I’ve been gone, but you can see how long it takes things to get built. If it’s not built, they’re gonna be playing here.” 

Kidd’s point is well taken, and it was a perspective that no doubt bothered Anthony as he dealt with four months of attempts by the Nuggets, the Nets and his representatives at Creative Artists Agency to steer him to New Jersey on the hopes of a future in his native Brooklyn. The announcement that the Nets were moving to a new arena in Brooklyn was first made in 2006, yet ground wasn’t broken on the Barclays Center until last spring. Concrete was poured in June, and the steel started going up in November. As of Jan. 10, construction had reached the suite/concourse level (see photo). It is scheduled to open in time for the 2012-13 season.





But players are realists, and believe in things they can see (like an arena) or touch (like a giant stack of money or All-Star teammates.) 

“I was very fortunate,” Kidd said. “When I was here, I had great teammates and a president (Rod Thorn) who knew what he was doing. So that makes your job a whole lot easier.” 

Kidd was asked if there’s a New Jersey stigma among potential trade targets and free agents around the league. If the question were a basketball, Kidd would have dribbled it out of bounds. 

“Um, I, you know, it’s a, it’s a great state,” Kidd said. “One, Jersey’s great. It’s close to the city, great restaurants, great people, great fans. Unfortunately, you have the Turnpike from the airport and that’s pretty much all people get to see. Well, if you’re a golfer, you’ve got great golf courses here.” 

Kidd, whose Mavs are expected to at least inquire about what it would take to get Anthony on a rental deal now that the Nets are out of the picture, offered an interesting piece of advice he’d give Anthony if he were advising him. With so much talent concentrated in the Eastern Conference, why wouldn’t Anthony want to stay in the West? 

“If I was his advisor, I wouldn’t want him to go East,” Kidd said. “But if he wants to go back home to New York or if as close as he can get is Jersey, then you wish him the best. But you look at the Eastern Conference, there’s some talent over on this side. Then you look at Jersey, New York or whoever gets him, because somebody’s going to get him in the summer time.” 

That’s where Kidd wound up going back to the original point, which is how similar his situation was when he got traded by the Nets three years ago. For Kidd, the resolution went all the way down to the trade deadline, and he believes Anthony’s will, too. 

“Whenever the trade deadline comes about and goes, that’s the only way it can be solved,” Kidd said. “At the end of the day, he’s going to be there or he’s not.”
Posted on: August 11, 2010 11:17 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2010 11:52 pm
 

Thorn rejoining Stefanski in Philly (UPDATE)

NEW YORK -- Rod Thorn watched Team USA practice Tuesday from his perch in the stands at John Jay College, seated next to former 76ers GM -- and current Nets GM -- Billy King. Coincidence? Apparently not.

Thorn, the longtime Nets president whose contract was not renewed this summer, didn't take long to get back in the game. The respected executive confirmed to CBSSports.com Wednesday he has been hired as president of the 76ers and will retain Ed Stefanski as his general manager.

Stefanski occupies King's former seat in the Sixers' hierarchy, and now he occupies the same seat at Thorn's right hand that he previously had with the Nets. Confused? Don't be. Thorn and Stefanski working side-by-side, as they did for several years in New Jersey, makes perfect sense.

But for how long? As Matt Moore points out , Thorn may be coming to Philly to provide cover for Stefanski, whose reign in the City of Brotherly Love has been far from lovely or brotherly.

Yahoo! Sports first reported Thorn's hiring in Philly, which gives the Sixers -- and Stefanski -- a strong and like-minded voice in a front office that frequently is burdened with the overbearing ownership of Ed Snider and Peter Luukko. After Stefanski unloaded the burdensome contract of center Samuel Dalembert and drafted Evan Turner with the No. 2 pick, the Sixers are poised to finally climb from the shadows of their most recent run of success centered around 1996 No. 1 pick Allen Iverson. And Thorn is the perfect executive to guide them there, having resurrected the Nets with consecutive NBA Finals appearances after years of comical malaise -- something often associated with the Sixers' recent attempts at rebuilding.
 


Posted on: July 15, 2010 3:08 pm
 

Two key questions about Warriors sale

LAS VEGAS -- The Warriors going to Peter Guber and Joe Lacob instead of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison can certainly be viewed as an upset. But not nearly as upsetting to Warriors fans as something else that could result from the transfer of power from Chris Cohan: A decision by the new guys to leave bad enough alone and keep the decision-making tandem of Don Nelson and Larry Riley in place.

Immediately upon approval of the NBA's Board of Governors, the easiest and best decision Guber and Lacob could make would be cleaning out the Warriors' dysfunctional front office and starting over again. There are plenty of good candidates for both jobs available.

The coaching position would be easy to fill. The Warriors have been grooming assistant coach Keith Smart to replace Nelson for a while now, and he'd be the perfect choice to finally get the job.

As for GM, this summer has been open season on general managers in the NBA, so the list of qualified people to replace Riley is lengthy: Kevin Pritchard, Rod Thorn, Danny Ferry, Jeff Bower and David Griffin are all free agents. Jerry West, whose name has long been associated with a possible takeover of the Warriors, would be a home run -- if he's willing to get back into the grind. Even if he isn't, a tandem of West and Griffin, who worked together in Memphis, would be a solid 1-2 punch. West would restore class and vision to the organization, and Griffin -- who has a keen eye for talent and a deep understanding of the salary-cap and CBA, at least in its current form -- would be an ace in the day-to-day GM role.

Pritchard and Ferry haven't aggressively pursued any of the numerous GM openings to this point, leading to speculation that they're waiting for a more prestigious job to come along. Despite the aimless wandering of the Warriors in recent years under Nellie and Riley, there are few NBA locales more desirable than the Bay Area and few jobs with as much potential to make a meaningful imprint. From that standpoint, reviving the Warriors has West's name -- and logo -- written all over it. But it's not entirely clear if West, 72, wants to return to a front-office role. Sources familiar with Thorn's decision to step down in New Jersey said the longtime Nets boss was under the distinct impression that West, a relentless workaholic during his glory days as an NBA team executive, finally had come to enjoy retirement. Seeing West finally embrace being out of the spotlight appealed to Thorn, 69, on a certain level.

The other aspect of the Warriors' sale that warrants a mention in today's news cycle is the price: $450 million, a record for an NBA franchise that surpassed the previous mark of $401 million paid by Robert Sarver for the Suns in 2004. One of the key sticking points in the negotiations between owners and players on a new collective bargaining agreement is the escalating value of NBA franchises. If the league's financial system is so broken, the players argue, why would someone pay nearly a half-billion dollars to join the club?

But the disagreement runs deeper than that. In an interview with CBSSports.com Wednesday, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said a point of contention in reconciling commissioner David Stern's latest assertion that the league lost $370 million during the 2009-10 season is the cost associated with buying and owning the teams. Hunter said the league's finances include such expenses as interest and depreciation, which he views as costs that should be borne by the owners and not the players. The Warriors' sale is the perfect example of why such costs shouldn't be used as an excuse to cut player salaries. Here is the simple reason why:

Cohan bought the Warriors for $119 million in 1995. His capital gain of $331 million, less expenses, is his to keep. If the owners want to count interest and depreciation expenses in the formula that determines player salaries, then the players should receive a cut of the profit when owners sell their teams. The owners, for obvious reasons, would never agree to such an arrangement. The players, for equally obvious reasons, should never allow the expenses associated with investing in the purchases of NBA teams to be taken out of their pockets at the bargaining table.

"You can't expect the players to pay for the damn franchise," Hunter sad. "You can't tell me we have obligation to pay for your franchise and then split the difference with you."

Just a couple of things to think about as you digest the news of the Golden State Warriors becoming the highest-priced franchise ever purchased in NBA history.



Posted on: July 14, 2010 11:15 am
Edited on: July 14, 2010 1:09 pm
 

Billy King to Nets (UPDATE)

Former Philadelphia 76ers GM Billy King has accepted the job of replacing Rod Thorn as president of the Nets, the team announced Wednesday.

King was a finalist for the job along with his former Duke University teammate and former Cavs GM Danny Ferry. CBSSports.com reported Tuesday night that King had emerged as the favorite due to strong support from coach Avery Johnson, who is wielding plenty of power in the Nets' revamped hierarchy. King, who essentially executed Larry Brown's personnel vision during their time together in Philadelphia, will assume a similar role in New Jersey, where Johnson seems to be accomplishing his goal of having organizational control.

David Aldridge of NBA.com first reported the news.

“I am very pleased Billy King is coming on board as Nets President,” Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said. “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."

It is likely that King will oversee the Nets' basketball operations as team president, with vice president Bobby Marks to be named GM. An announcement is expected Thursday, Thorn's last day with the team after a 10-year stint that included two NBA Finals appearances.

"I am very excited about joining the Nets organization," King said. "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."

With Thorn's departure public knowledge entering free agency, the Nets struck out on all their top targets, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer. The team continues to have interest in Rockets restricted free agent Luis Scola, but a person familiar with Scola's situaton told CBSSports.com Wednesday that Scola has yet to receive an offer sheet from any NBA team -- though he has two offers to play in Europe.

The Nets came out of free agency with a modest haul of Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw and Johan Petro, all of whom are being introduced in a news conference at the team's New Jersey practice facility Wednesday.
Posted on: June 26, 2010 11:42 pm
 

Colangelo: No contact from Nets


If Mikhail Prokhorov's grand plan in forcing Rod Thorn out of the Nets' presidency involves hiring Jerry Colangelo to replace him, this is news to Jerry Colangelo. The managing director of USA Basketball told CBSSports.com Saturday night he has yet to hear from the Nets.

Colangelo said in a text message that there's been "no call" from the Nets and "no contact" between the franchise and the architect of USA Basketball's resurgence, which not coincidentally was fueled by several members of the elite 2010 free-agent class. In addition to Colangelo's track record as one of the game's shrewdest executives and innovators, his close relationship with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and others who have thrived under Colangelo's leadership with USA Basketball enhances his value to teams looking to pursue those and other free agents.

Though he has yet to hear from the Nets, Colangelo remains interested in speaking with New Jersey officials if the team is interested in him. In that regard, nothing has changed since All-Star weekend in Dallas, when Colangelo said he'd listen to what then-prospective owner Prokhorov had to say if he wanted to discuss Colangelo running the team that will be moving to Brooklyn, N.Y., in two years.

Thorn's departure was surprising for its timing, but not stunning in the grand scheme of things. That's partly because Thorn has privately contemplated retirement in recent years and partly due to a new normal among NBA owners who have just endured two of the worst financial years in league history. According to two people familiar with the situation, Thorn was asked to take a massive pay cut -- as much as 80 percent, the sources said -- to stay with the team after his contract expired June 30. Thorn, described as "emotional" over the request, declined the insult but agreed to stay on through July 15 to help the Nets navigate the all-important free-agent period that begins July 1.

Thorn was by no means the first GM or team president asked to take a haircut on his salary in recent months and years, but the fact that it happened to one of the most experienced and respected executives in the sport sent a chill through the GM ranks over the past 24 hours. A year ago, according to a source, Sacramento GM Geoff Petrie accepted a similarly extreme pay cut when he agreed to a three-year extension with the Kings. This summer, Steve Kerr left the Suns after owner Robert Sarver insisted on a pay cut. Kevin Pritchard, already one of the lowest-paid executives in the league, was unceremoniously fired an hour before the draft Thursday night.

One of the people familiar with the Nets' situation said Prokhorov's motivation in low-balling Thorn was to force him out and bring in someone with a "younger voice." Of course, if Prokhorov winds up hiring the similarly seasoned Colangelo, the Russian billionaire will be in no position to scrimp. He'll have to pay top ruble for one of the most respected basketball men in the sport, especially given Colangelo's strong ties to marquee free agents who are fiercely loyal to him due to his resurrection of USA Basketball on the world stage.

Which brings us to another reason that Colangelo's candidacy for the Nets' job makes sense: Prokhorov's goal of making the Nets a global franchise, which coincides with LeBron's desire to be a global icon, would only be enhanced by Colangelo's international basketball reputation and experience. But of course, that would come at a price.




Posted on: June 25, 2010 11:06 pm
Edited on: June 26, 2010 1:17 am
 

Thorn stepping down as Nets' president (UPDATE)

Following a bizarre trend that apparently dictates that it's better to be devoid of leadership at the most critical time in franchise history, the Nets will be without the executive who led them to two Finals appearances and gave them the best chance of succeeding in free agency. Rod Thorn is stepping down as team president effective July 15, a person familiar with the situation confirmed to CBSSports.com Friday night.

You read that right: Thorn will be pulling the Summer of LeBron version of Kevin Pritchard's draft night, conducting the chase for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson -- a chase the franchise endured a payroll-gutting, 12-win season to engage in. When it's over, he's gone, according to the person with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to announce the move.

While it was known that Thorn's contract was set to expire June 30, his departure is stunning considering his accomplishments and the importance of the free-agent negotiating period that begins July 1. Thorn has agreed to stay on until July 15 to help navigate free agency, but it's not clear what marquee player would choose to join the Nets in Newark, N.J., without knowing who's making the basketball decisions. The team won't move to its new digs in Brooklyn for two more years.

According to an executive with another team who is familiar with the situation, Thorn was asked to take a massive pay cut and balked. Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov may be a billionaire, but not when it comes to paying the person running his basketball team. "He wants a younger voice," the person said.

But that description contradicted a Bergen (N.J.) Record report early Saturday in which Jerry Colangelo was touted as the leading candidate to replace Thorn. The report, which hinted that Colangelo could have some role in the Nets' free-agent visit with James next week in Ohio, rekindled speculation that arose during All-Star weekend in Dallas. At that time, when Prokhorov's bid for the Nets was still being considered by the NBA's Board of Governors, Colangelo said he wasn't pursuing any jobs but would listen if the Nets called. The managing director of USA Basketball, Colangelo would be a key asset in the Nets' pursuit of James or other free agents from the 2008 Olympic team that won gold in Beijing. 

Unlike the Cavaliers and Clippers, the Nets at least do have a coach in place -- and perhaps Avery Johnson is angling for personnel authority, given that he stressed his desire for such control in other job interviews this summer. But without Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe, whom Prokhorov fired through the news media several weeks ago, the Nets will be without a credible basketball management figure at by far the most crucial point in the history of this meandering, mostly second-rate franchise.

Reached via text message Friday night, Thorn replied, "Right now, I have no comment."

The Nets are by no means the only team to gut itself of basketball intellect on the cusp of irreversibly important decisions. Suns owner Robert Sarver decided to cut ties with GM Steve Kerr at a time when Kerr and his assistant, David Griffin -- who also is departing -- were trying to negotiate an extension with star forward Amar'e Stoudemire. The Cavs decided to stumble into the most important month in Cleveland sports history -- and one that could change the NBA landscape forever -- without a coach or GM. Chris Grant, the replacement for former GM Danny Ferry, is indisputably talented but also has never been faced with circumstances as pressurized as possibly losing his city's biggest sports star since Jim Brown.

The Clippers, also entertaining false hope of luring major free agents, have yet to hire a coach. And the Trail Blazers -- though not free-agent players -- made a mockery of the GM profession Thursday when owner Paul Allen fired Pritchard an hour before the draft while instructing him to make his picks and trades before going home for good.

The only thing any of this proves, besides incompetence, is that there's no better job than being an unemployed or soon-to-be unemployed GM in the NBA. Either you're still getting paid by the team that fired you, which is good, or you're salivating over numerous job openings. Or both. But something you're not doing if you're a team without leadership is signing James or Wade as a free agent.





Posted on: February 13, 2010 12:54 am
 

Colangelo on Nets: If someone asks, he'll talk

DALLAS -- Jerry Colangelo said Friday he's had no contact with the Nets about taking over their basketball operations, a move that could lead to his sidekick from USA Basketball, Mike Krzyzewski, joining him as coach. But if a team wanted to talk to him about getting back into the business of running an NBA team, Colangelo said he'd listen.

"I don’t feel compelled to do anything because I'm very happy with where I am in life," Colangelo said after a news conference announcing the 19 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. "That’s how I really feel. I've had a great run. I've been blessed with a lot of success. But I'm not compelled to do a thing other than what I really enjoy doing. And so I'm never out there soliciting or looking for anything. Whenever opportunity knocks at the door, I think it’s incumbent upon anyone to talk. But I couldn’t be happier where I am."

Yahoo! Sports and the Record of Hackensack (N.J.) reported Friday that Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, the incoming Nets owner, seeks to install the dream team of Colangelo and Krzyzewski to a franchise that is on pace to equal the worst record in NBA history this season -- the 9-73 mark established by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers. The connection is easy to decipher.

After restoring USA Basketball to its former glory with a gold-medal performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Colangelo has the unwavering respect of Olympians from that team -- several of whom have the chance to become unrestricted free agents on July 1. The Nets are close to clearing enough salary cap space to sign two free agents to the maximum contracts allowed under the current collective bargaining agreement. At various times, the best of those potential free agents -- LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh -- have openly speculated about what it would be like to play on the same team.

As the architect of the Redeem Team last summer, Colangelo would be in a unique position to sell players on joining him in his next rebuilding job. Even as he assembles his roster for the World Championships in Turkey this summer, Colangelo won't have to solicit job offers from any number of cap-clearing teams. They'll come to him, for obvious reasons.

Speaking Friday at All-Star media day, Wade reiterated that he wants to stay in Miami and attract a second star player to join him. The Heat currently are positioned better than any other team for the 2010 free-agent bonanza, having Wade and enough cap space to sign another superstar. The Chicago Bulls are feverishly working on several trades that would put them on even footing with Miami and the Nets in that pursuit.

Prokhorov's possible interest in Colangelo has thrown team president Rod Thorn's future into doubt. The Record reported that Thorn's scheduled meeting with Prokhorov in Dallas this weekend was up in the air. By denying contact -- but not interest -- in the Nets' job, Colangelo left the door open to fielding Prokhorov's overture.

"In my career, I always had a little bit of an edge in my opinion because of my relationships with players," Colangelo said. "Why? I played. I coached. I was one of them. I remember a collective bargaining session and it was heated. The president (Patrick Ewing), he goes off on the owners. And I'm in the room there, in this conference room. He looks up and he sees me and he says, 'That goes for everybody except Jerry. He’s one of us.' Now that was a little embarrassing with the other guys there, but I always had relationships. I think my ability maybe with this run with USA Basketball was built on that. You can't demand respect. You’ve earned respect over a period of time, and usually it goes both ways."
Posted on: February 11, 2010 11:15 am
 

Thorn: No Pitino contact

Rod Thorn was packing his bags Thursday morning in an attempt to make it to Dallas for All-Star weekend. First, he had a situation to deal with -- shooting down the notion that Louisville coach Rick Pitino had contacted the Nets to express interest in being their next coach.

"I'm good friends with Rick and have been for long time," Thorn said. "He's never reached out to me and I've never reached out to him about this. He's never indicated to me that he’s unhappy where he is or has intentions of coming back to the NBA. I've certainly never heard about it and never had any conversation with him about it. If he had approached one of our owners or somebody on his behalf had approached one of our owners, I'm sure they say something to me about it."

This is the second time in a few months that Pitino's name has surfaced regarding an NBA job, which most people around the league see for what it is -- a desperate attempt on Pitino's part to keep an escape route open from Louisville, where he's been dogged by scandal and overshadowed by rival Kentucky and coach John Calipari. Pitino's operatives floated his name for the Sacramento job last summer, but there was never any interest from the Kings, who hired Paul Westphal.

Pitino himself denied the New York Daily News' report Thursday of his interest in the Nets' job. But the goal was accomplished; the more Pitino's name is associated with an NBA comeback, the more likely it is that some desperate, clueless owner will hire him.

The Nets, who are 4-48 and on pace to equal the worst record in NBA history, have bigger fish to fry. The purchase of the team by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is expected to come up for a vote at the next Board of Governor's meeting, and the team is trying to make progress on its move to Brooklyn.
 
 
 
 
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