Grades are in for Thorn and Stefanski



June 2006 - drafted Marcus Williams, PG, and Josh Boone, PF, in the first round [A] and Hassan Adams, SG, in the second round. [A]
Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. Williams keep falling and falling and unlike other GM’s Thorn and Stefanski were there to catch him. Boone could have made this an A+ if he hadn’t hurt his shoulder. But if he delivers on his potential, particularly on defense, the Nets will be happy. Adams has looked good in stretches, certainly better than someone taken at #54 should.

June 2006 - Declined team option on Scott Padgett, saving the team $1.2 million…his remaining contract year minus a $450,000 buyout. [B+]
Having the team option in the original contract was a good idea and since Padgett didn’t want to stay and Nachbar seems to provide the same services, no apparent harm.

July 2006 - Let Jacque Vaughn sign with the Spurs. [B-]
Vaughn sees Williams pick and realizes he will get less time. Up and down year didn’t help him, but still a steadying influence, a great teammate. Not missed except in some defensive matchups.

July 2006 - Declined team option on Cliff Robinson, then agreed to sign him to a new deal worth $1.3 million less. To help Robinson save face, the team included a team option for a second year. [C-]
Hold your nose and let bygones be bygones. The new contract saved the team money in a cost conscious era and Cliffy is contrite, but couldn’t you have done better? He may also be done after early season knee surgery.

August 2006 - Signed combo guard Eddie House to one year, $1.4 million contract. [C+]
Considering his shooting ability and small contract, a great pickup at a bargain price. A gunner who can play some point, once he gets hot, it’s bombs away. Nets are looking to run more and House helps that plan a lot. He can disrupt a defense with some well-placed three’s. Defense as questionable as his conscience. An injury hurt him.

August 2006 - Bought out Zoran Planinic for $150,000, permitting him to join Tau Ceramica in Spain and open a roster spot for Mile Ilic.
Giving up on a draft choice is never easy, particularly one so highly thought of. But the Planinic experiment was a failed one. With the drafting of Marcus Williams, Planinic saw the hand-writing on the wall and asked for permission to seek new opportunities overseas.

August 2006 - Agreed to buyout and sign Mile Ilic, their 2005 draft choice, to a multi-year contract starting at $800,000. [B-]
It’s all about potential. Ilic’s nickname on his Serbian team was “Yao Mile” because his height and skillset are reminiscent of a poor man’s Yao Ming. He is tall, athletic, a good shooter and passer with limited post moves. Nets brass have described him as “lottery caliber” and “intriguing”. By signing him to a multi year deal, the Nets guarantee that if he learns quickly they will have a bargain down the road. A small risk with potentially big rewards. Still, he is less advanced than thought.

August 2006 - Invited Jay Williams to training camp, essentially giving him a non-guaranteed contract and a chance to show what he has to the Nets brass as well as other NBA teams. [C]
It didn’t work out, but it got the team some positive publicity and it didn’t cost them much. It was another case of low risk, potentially high reward, the signature of the off-season, starting with Marcus Williams and including the draft of Hassan Adams, the signing of Mile Ilic and Eddie House.

January 2007 - Traded Jeff McInnis to the Charlotte Bobcats for Bernard Robinson, finally putting an end to the McInnis fiasco
Hard to give anything better than a B for this one, considering how bad the original signing was. In addition to his poor play, there were rumors of him recruiting others to his late night partying rounds, etc., etc. Robinson could help down the road as a defender–the Nets have him for two years, but the big benefit was getting the team below the luxury tax threshhold. The team also winds up with a trade exception of $2.6 million.