BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Sean Marks addressed the media about Brooklyn’s subtle deadline move(s).
First and foremost, he preached patience. The Nets weren’t going to make a move for the sake of making a move, nor were they going to push out players that have developed under Kenny Atkinson’s wing.
“You try and make your team better, if you can, and when you can, but staying true to the goals that have been outlined over the course of the last 18 months,” Marks said. “Just doing it strategically, being patient and waiting, and if you see something that you can act upon that not only helps us not only right now but going into the future, we’ll do it.”
In simpler terms: They weren’t going to give up a Spencer Dinwiddie or a Joe Harris just to get a draft pick that might not even pan out. These are guys that have been in the gym with Atkinson and have seen significant growth over the past year.
So, it was a pretty quiet deadline for Marks and the Nets.
Marks made a deal to send Tyler Zeller to the Milwaukee Bucks for Rashad Vaughn three days prior to Thursday’s deadline. Marks then flipped Vaughn for Dante Cunningham, an old teammate of his and potential big that can help the frontcourt situation.
“I think the first move, by moving Tyler, firstly, I give our coaching staff a lot of credit with not only how they developed Tyler but all our guys over the course of the year - they’ve done a nice job there - and it’s always difficult to see a guy move, and especially a guy like Tyler who is the epitome of...he did everything we asked him to do.
Marks continued by saying, “Milwaukee wanted him - wanted him badly,” in reference to Zeller.
So, instead of making a big splash, the Nets landed a nine-year veteran in Dante Cunningham, who Marks is familiar with after playing with him for a season in Portland back in 2010-2011.
“Dante Cunningham is someone I’m familiar with - our whole group is familiar with - and with Rondae [Hollis-Jefferson] being out right now and obviously losing Tyler as well, Dante gives us a positional need, fills a little bit of that void there, but he also brings us toughness, grit, he’s a veteran. He’s been on multiple teams, he’s been on playoff teams, he’s been in big moments. And I think what he’ll add to our group will be important.”
The Nets have been in the frontcourt all season. Cunning is 6-8 shooting at a 32 percent clip from 3-point over the span of his career. Marks explained how he and Atkinson saw Cunningham’s fit in the rotation.
“There’s definitely a level of familiarity that I have with him. But, again, it’s never going to be me making this decision, it’s a decision that the whole front office makes - from an analytical standpoint from a cap evaluation standpoint, and obviously we discuss this with our coaches in every move we make we say “hey, look, this is why we’d like to do this, what do you guys think. And to your point before, Brian (Lewis), ‘does it help balance out the roster?’”
As for Cunningham, he talked to Michael Grady pre-game about what he can bring to the team.
The Nets will be without Rondae Hollis-Jefferson for an indefinite amount of time. Although the Nets didn’t make that “sexy’ trade,” they filled a position they believed needed some work.
It may have been subtle, but it’s all part of the plan in preaching patience. And for Cunningham... his debut will be against his former team on Saturday.
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