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Woj: Arturas Karnisovas, Sean Marks appear to be front-runners for Brooklyn Nets GM

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Nets have moved into the second round of the interview process and the leading candidates appear to be Arturas Karnisovas,the assistant GM in Denver, and Sean Marks, his counterpart in San Antonio. making it appear that both have moved ahead of Bryan Colangelo, a candidate once seen as front runner. Woj also believes Gersson Rosas, the Rockets assistant GM, is still in the mix.

Woj also reports the Nets are likely to follow the same deliberate process in picking a coach that they have in their GM search, and names as possibilities Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau and Ettore Messina, once a Mikhail Prokhorov employee as head coach of CSKA Moscow and now an assistant with the Spurs.

Moreover, the Yahoo! writer listed Andrea Bargnani as a candidate to be "almost assuredly" bought out unless he gets traded ... which is unlikely.

Here's the specifics -- on the GM search...

Candidates talking further with Nets ownership and management include Denver assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas and San Antonio Spurs assistant GM Sean Marks, league sources said. Other candidates – including Bryan Colangelo and Houston vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas – may still be in the search process, sources said.

Early in the morning, Woj tweeted a clarification on the GM search.

On the coach search...

The next GM will not have unilateral control in hiring the Nets' next coach, sources said. The organization plans to pursue a coach through the elaborate committee that it has assembled to interview GM candidates. The GM will have input, but the Nets want to hire a significant presence as head coach – among a pool of candidates that they hope includes Van Gundy, Thibodeau and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina.

And on Bargnani...

Several players almost assuredly who'll get bought out and become free agents if they are not traded this week, leagues sources said, include Boston's David Lee, Denver's JJ Hickson and Brooklyn's Andrea Bargnani.

Should the Nets drop Bargnani, it will not be simple. Billy King signed him and three other Nets, all of them underperforming, to two-year guarantees, with player options. If the Nets do buy out Bargnani, part of next year's contract is likely to remain on the cap.  Such a move would open a roster spot.

On the GM front, Woj didn't dismiss Colangelo --or Rosas-- as a possible final selection, but appeared to put Karnisovas and Marks on a higher level.  The two are both foreign-born with strong international connections.  Karnisovas, a Lithuanian, never played in the NBA but was a top European player.  He also speaks Russian and according to Mike Mazzeo, spoke it during his interview. He has reputation for finding diamonds in the rough, particularly overseas.

Marks, a New Zealander, played 11 years -- but only 230 games -- in the NBA as well as a year in Poland.  He won rings both as a player (2005) and assistant coach (2014) for the Spurs. He is the only candidate with experience as an NBA player, assistant coach, assistant GM and D-League GM.

Neither has been a GM in the past while Colangelo won Executive of the Year honors in both Phoenix and Toronto. Rosas, also an international candidate -- he was born in Colombia -- had a short stint as GM in Dallas between gigs with the Rockets. Like Karnisovas, he, too, has a good record finding gems.

Ownership has been very happy with the search process, winnowing down GM candidates from an original list of 20 to the eight or so who were interviewed last week and now the short list.  The five members of the search committee chosen by Prokhorov are Dmitry Razumov, CEO of his holding company, ONEXIM, and chairman of the Nets board; Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment; Irina Pavlova, Prokhorov's U.S. rep and president of ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment Holdings; and Sergey Kushchenko, his top sports adviser, a member of the Nets board and commissioner of the Russian basketball league.