New York Daily News

King, Nets in Catch-22


THE NETS have zero cap space. None.

For the first time since GM Billy King took over a team that won just 12 games in 2009-10, the Nets’ roster and core are locked up to start the summer. King is handcuffed in free agency.

Thursday’s draft pick — No. 22 — represents King’s most desirable and available asset to improve a team that fancies itself a title contender.

“At this point in time, every scenario is available,” King said.

King isn’t kidding. He’s been working the phones, trying to figure out whether it’s best to move up, down or out of the draft. As the Daily News reported, King has discussed a trade that would send third-year guard MarShon Brooks to the Timberwolv­es for the No. 26 pick in the draft.

King has $3 million available as a trade asset on Thursday, as well. As The News reported on Wednesday, King put in a call to Kevin Garnett’s camp to gauge whether the future Hall of Famer would be interested in joining Brooklyn.

But what does King think about the prospects of standing pat at No. 22?

“I think we’ll be able to get a player where we’re selecting, at 22, that may be able to crack the rotation this year,” King said. “Probably another year for sure.”

Not exactly inspiring stuff, but this is considered a weak class, and King wasn’t shy about other teams’ desires to bolt from the 2013 draft and stock up for next year. “Will trades get done?” King said. “I don’t know, because there’s a lot less trading partners.”

The Nets need a backup point guard because C.J. Watson will opt out of his contract. They may need a backup center because it’s unclear if Andray Blatche will resign as a free agent this summer.

But less specific to position, Brooklyn requires speed and athleticis­m, which would give new coach Jason Kidd a chance to install his desired up-tempo offense. Regardless of when or if the Nets end up drafting, the scouting team has gone to great lengths to rank its top 60 prospects.

T hursday night might be King’s best opportunit­y to improve his team.

“I think for where we are, it’s better because I think you’re going to get guys who are more polished and more who they are,” the GM said. “They may not be a franchise guy, but they could be a good piece.” So could you trade? “Yes,” King said.

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