EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rod Thorn is stepping down as president and general manager of the New Jersey Nets.
A person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Saturday that the 69-year-old Thorn will resign next month. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not authorized public comment.
Thorn would not confirm the move Saturday in a text message to the AP. It remains unclear whether he will remain with the team in another capacity.
The person said possible candidates to replace Thorn included Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti, New Orleans GM Jeff Bower and Nets vice president Bobby Marks.
Thorn is not being forced out by new owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who wants him to stay on. The Russian billionaire recently chose not to renew the contract of general manager Kiki Vandeweghe. He then gave Thorn the dual job of president and general manager, a new contract and the task of rebuilding a team that won a franchise low 12 games last season.
Thorn has had the contract for two weeks and not signed it.
When asked on Friday when he would sign it and how long he would stay with the team, Thorn seemed to laugh.
“We’ll see,” he said cryptically. “Thanks for asking.”
ESPN The Magazine first reported Friday that Thorn would step down July 15.
Thorn, who has been calling the shots for the Nets since 2000, hired Avery Johnson as coach last week, ran the draft on Thursday and is now preparing for the long-awaited free agency period that begins July 1, when the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can test the market.
New Jersey doesn’t have a great supporting cast, but Thorn has positioned the team to make a run at star players with $27 million in salary cap space.
Thorn helped turn the Nets into a contender in 2001 when he engineered a trade to bring Jason Kidd to New Jersey. The Nets went to the NBA Finals for two consecutive years, but failed to win the title.
Before joining the Nets, Thorn was the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations from 1986-2000.