As Mikhail Prokhorov and the committee he set up to help find a new GM wrap up interviews either Wednesday or Thursday, new names of candidates are emerging ... amid reports that the Nets owner has no interest in blowing up his roster.
NetsDaily has been told that in addition to Sean Marks, the assistant GM in San Antonio, the Nets are also interviewing Kevin Pritchard, the GM of the Pacers, and Chris Grant, the former GM of the Cavaliers. It's uncertain which candidates have been interviewed thus far. The Nets were expected to interview somewhere between eight and 10 candidates.
Meanwhile, Howard Beck reports in a series of tweets that in early interviews, Prokhorov "has made clear he is absolutely opposed to a roster teardown. He wants to keep Lopez/Young,"
A league source told NetsDaily that the Nets have spoken to 20 candidates, but the final list of candidates is about half that number. Among the those whose names have been reported are: former GM's Bryan Colangelo and Danny Ferry, as well as assistant GMs Arturas Karnisovas of the Nuggets; Gersson Rosas of the Rockets, and Frank Zanin of the Nets as well as Marks, Pritchard and Grant. There are conflicting reports on whether the Wizards assistant GM, Tommy Sheppard, is being interviewed.
Marks appears to the most serious of the new candidates. The No. 2 to R.C. Buford in San Antonio, Marks is among the youngest at 40 and with only four years of front office experience, but he reportedly has jumped ahead of many of the candidates.
Gregg Popovich offered high praise for Marks Tuesday ... but admitted he didn't know of the Nets interest in his assistant GM until being told by a reporter.
"He’s going to be a star," Popovich told the San Antonio Express-News. Marks, a New Zealander by birth, joined the Spurs front office following 12 years as an NBA player, including two with the Spurs from 2004-2006. He has rings as both a Spurs player (2005) and executive (2014). Marks served as both director of basketball operations and assistant coach for the Spurs.
"He really has a great feel for talent and has a great personality, really commands respect and gets along with people," Popovich told Tom Orsborn. "He is going to have a bright future. We’ll have to kick him out of the door here pretty soon."
Grant, 43, served as GM of the Cavaliers from 2010 through 2014, the years LeBron James played in Miami. He made a series of trades that produced high draft picks, but with the exception of Kyrie Irving produced controversial choices.
Although officially GM in Indiana, Pritchard, 48, is No. 2 in the Pacers hierarchy, behind Larry Bird. Pritchard, who's helped build a deep Pacers squad, had served as GM in Portland from 2007 through 2010, being unceremoniously canned by Paul Allen on Draft Night 2010.
Meanwhile, Beck offered an insight into the interview process, pointing out that Prokhorov has some very defined ideas of the strategies he wants his new GM to follow ... and those he doesn't.
A note on Nets GM search: Prokhorov, I'm told, has made clear he is absolutely opposed to a roster teardown. He wants to keep Lopez/Young.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 10, 2016
Rather than rebuild, Prokhorov is convinced Nets can keep Lopez/Young, sign free agents in July and quickly get back in playoff chase.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 10, 2016
I'll add this, re Nets: Most GMs/scouts I've surveyed in recent weeks have agreed: Best bet is auction off Lopez/Young and restock w/youth.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 10, 2016
Prokhorov seems to be following same playbook he's had since he arrived: Spend your way to success, focus on the now instead of long term.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 10, 2016
Needless to say, I'm skeptical that playbook has any chance of working. But maybe Nets get lucky in free agency this summer.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 10, 2016
Prokhorov has indeed said that with the addition of "one or two players" and a "lot of luck," the Nets could return to championship contention as early as next season.
Like Beck, a number of pundits believe the Nets will make a decision by week's end, the start of All-Star Break. Next week, the Nets will open their HSS Training Center in Brooklyn. Having a new GM on hand would doubtlessly help the franchise show stability.