With the Brooklyn Nets signing Ed Davis and acquiring Kenneth Faried in a trade, and with Sean Marks giving the impression Tuesday that they’re closing in on their final 2018-19 roster, the short-lived Jahlil Okafor era in Brooklyn looks dead.
“I won’t comment on Jahlil, because he’s not here right now,” Marks said bluntly. “But again, I will always bet on our coaching staff. Our coaching staff have done a heck of a job, our performance team, in terms of how they develop guys.”
Marks then noted the need for a “floor spacer,” which Okafor is not. Hours later, of course, the Nets signed Treveon Graham, who is a floor space and despite his size, can play the 4.
Okafor did resurface, slimmer and more perimeter oriented, Monday in a new workout video. Posted by Miles Reynolds, a high school teammate of Okafor at Whitney Young High School in Chicago, it showed Okafor hitting three’s, moving easily.
Some of his teammates took notice, tweeting encouragement to Okafor.
But they haven’t seen much of Okafor since April. Instead of staying in Brooklyn with his teammates, he left for Miami immediately after the season ended. He didn’t join the “joint in Cali,” the Nets player-coordinated trip to Los Angeles in May. The Nets even gave away his number, 4, to Theo Pinson in Summer League.
There were reports in the last few days that four teams visited Miami to take a look at the New Jah, but the Nets were not one of them.
Marks, asked if Davis or Faried would be a better fit than Okafor on the new look Nets, Marks straight up didn’t feel like taking it there … and moved on.
The GM did share parting thoughts of tribute Net Jeremy Lin.
“I’ve got to thank Jeremy for what he’s done here. It was terrific having him around, having him in our building. He certainly helped with the culture. His work ethic is unprecedented, so for all of our younger guys and the older guys alike to see how hard he works at his craft but also his rehabilitation. And unfortunately for him, a lot of it was spent rehabbing and so forth, so his time here was great. Obviously, I would assume he would say the same thing, he wished he was on the court more.
“I talked to Jeremy that morning (Thursday) and obviously things transpired pretty quickly. I talked to him again afterwards and he handled it like a true professional and gentleman. It’s a tough decision for everybody. I certainly don’t like having to make those calls, but at the end of the day that comes with the territory and he handled it terrific and we wish him nothing but the best,” offered Marks, who also said Lin rehabbing in Vancouver was a non-issue.
“Absolutely not. No. We were hand in hand the whole way with that, so that was something that from the Nets’ performance team, from Jeremy, we all wanted that to happen and it worked out great and he’s rehabbing terrific right now.”
The Lin trade came days after he headed off on his second trip to China this summer. Among his events is a celebrity basketball game in Shenzhen. Among those who’ll participate? Joe Tsai, the Nets new minority owner who has called Lin, who shares his Taiwanese heritage, his favorite player.
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