Sunday, August 21, 2016

Former Nets GM Thorn: Kidd thought Ratner "didn't care about winning," NBA ownership has changed

Well, he's not nearly as bitter as former New Jersey Nets forward Kenyon Martin, but longtime General Manager Rod Thorn has a similar verdict on the ownership of Bruce Ratner, as described in a recent interview with Yahoo columnist Adrian Wojnarowski's Vertical Podcast with Woj: Rod Thorn (h/t NetsDaily).

At about 58 minutes into the podcast, Thorn describes how Kidd claimed a migraine and asked for a trade, as  he "felt that when ownership let Kenyon Martin go... that ownership didn't care about winning."

Thorn didn't agree with Kidd's tactics, but agreed that Kidd made "a lot of us, including me" far more successful than they would have been.

The new ownership

After Mikhail Prokhorov took over ownership in 2010, Thorn could have stayed. He had "no negative thoughts" about Prokhorov or his deputy Dmitry Razumov, with whom he primarily dealt, and the asked for him to stay.

But Thorn thought he'd been there long enough, more than a decade, "through some really, really good times," and needed a fresh start.

 Wojnarowski tried to probe, suggesting that the "business side," notably team/arena CEO Brett Yormark, "had influence," seeking stars, and "that kind of shortcut was never going to work... I'm not sure you wanted to run a team that way... if basketball wasn't steering the ship."

"Well," responded Thorn, "teams have changed. Ownership has changed. Virtually everybody that owns a team now today is a billionaire. There's no more mom and pop. There's no more what we had in the ABA [American Basketball Association] where we were trying to make it every day and what you had at various times in the NBA where we're all in it together.  Now, it's 'we got to do this or else' basically. But it was me."

That's reasonable, just as it's not unlikely that Thorn had his doubts about the new ownership and their assemblage of a not-quite-stellar, bound-for-Brooklyn team anchored by guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, and even more so the trade--a sacrifice--to bring aging Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

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