Matt Ricciardi, who joined the Nets as an intern 13 years ago and rose to the position of Director of Scouting Operations and General Manager of Long Island Nets, is leaving Brooklyn for Dallas and taking a senior position at the Mavericks.
Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news in a tweet…
Sources told ESPN that Matt Ricciardi, director of exploration for the Brooklyn Nets, will join the Dallas Mavericks in a senior front office position. Ricciardi spent 13 years with the Nets, progressing from an apprentice. He grew up in the Dallas area.
– Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 6, 2022
Ricciardi, 36, outlined a number of possibilities for the Nets front desk, from Rod Thorne to Billy King to Sean Marks. Most famously, he pushed the nets to sign Spencer Dinwiddy who was toiling at the time for the Windy City Bulls.
Ricciardi is from Plano, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, and graduated from the University of Texas at Tyler where he also earned an MBA in finance. Riccardi’s ascent was legendary in Nets lore, driving from Plano to East Rutherford, NJ for an interview…for an apprentice job.
as such Mike Mazzeo’s books For Forbes Sports Money two years ago:
Ricciardi rode his car and traveled more than 1,500 miles from his hometown of Plano, Texas, to North Jersey while trying to achieve his ultimate goal of working in a front office in the NBA.
“Matt has gone above and beyond,” says Bobby Marks, who has worked at Nets for 20 years, and has also moved up the organizational ladder from unpaid intern to GM assistant. “He drove halfway across the country to get there. I had a lot of good apprentices, and I would say he’s probably the best apprentice I’ve ever had.”
From the trainee in Thorn’s front office to the scouting manager and Long Island GM at Sean Marks, Riccardi was a netizen who was popular with generations of gamers. Among those he recommended for a higher position outside of Dinwiddy were Sean Kilpatrick, Yogi Ferrell, Theo Benson, Timothy Lawow Caparrot, and Chris Chiusa.
Dinwiddie’s discovery by Mazzeo was laid out in his February 2021 report.
As the assistant general manager of Long Island under Trajan Langdon, Riccardi was on the team’s first road trip in Windy City when Dinwiddie scored 17 points and 11 assists against the G-League Nets on November 11, 2016.
Ricciardi liked what he saw, and alerted others in the organization that they should go see the Dinwiddie play. Eighteen days later, the entire coaching staff and front office in Brooklyn were present at Barclays Center when Dinwiddie scored 25 points and 12 assists in another outstanding performance in the G-League.
Dinwiddie was signed to the contract days later.
“I think there was a conviction (with Spencer),” Shawn Marks told Mazzeo. (Matt) man, when a player – especially with Spencer – he keeps pushing, and fortunately he did. We all know Spencer, but someone has to start that snowball, that rippling effect of ‘Where can we go with that particular player?’ ?” In Matt’s case, he was right about a lot–not just Spencer.”
Prior to this, Ricciardi was close to Nets guard Shawn Livingston, helping him through some tough times early in his time with the Nets. As told by Livingston, Ricciardi gave him a copy of “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse detailing the young man’s pursuit of enlightenment.
Livingston said back in 2014: “Riccardi gave it to me. I was struggling with it [some struggles] in December. …I’m a thinker, I was in my head. I was struggling, I was struggling mentally more than anything, and that would carry over into the matches.
“It was a great book, man. [It’s about] A guy who kind of finds himself. … He had to go through various experiences to find himself, because he was looking for peace. It was a great book.”
Livingston, as a reserve and injury substitute for Deron Williams, became a Nets player that season.
Earlier this summer, the Nets lost another veteran front office member, assistant coach Jordan Ott who joined the Lakers.