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It’s different now in Brooklyn

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The media room at the HSS Training Center was full Tuesday afternoon for Sean Marks press conference. All the key local media —the Post, Newsday and Daily News— had two representatives on hand, a reporter and a columnist. There were local television crews, but also local TV reporters. Not only did NetsDaily have three reporters on hand, parent SB Nation had one as well. There was international representation (although surprisingly we didn’t see any Chinese journalists.)

The point was, is and will be that the Nets are different now. They attract attention. New owner, new court, new logo and, most of all, new superstars drive that attraction, that public interest . Knick fans can claim that no one in New York cares about the Nets, but the atmosphere at HSS belied that. (So do ticket sales, which will be released soon.) And Marks took full advantage of it.

Whether Kevin Durant plays or not, the Nets represent the shock of the new in New York sports. And the GM and his team are not above pointing out how new, how different.

“I think we would be in the wrong business if we said our goal is to be sort of sustainable and along for the ride of mediocrity,” said Marks.

“None of those words exist with us. We’re gonna compete at the highest level, and we expect the ultimate goal. That is why we’re all in this business. Whether that comes whenever, but we’re definitely not gonna limit ourselves and say we have to do it then or we have to do it here. Part of the fun with all this is the journey along the way.”

Fun indeed. Confidence too. This was Marks at his level best, answering questions without giving up too much and always refusing to give the media quotes that could come back to haunt him. It’s not as if he was hiding his success under a bush either. He knows what he has wrought ... so far, but he is fully aware that the real story will take place between October 22 and sometime in the spring, maybe May, maybe June.

Reading between the lines, you could hear a lot of pride. Irving has assumed a leadership role. Caris LeVert has shown his competitiveness and two lesser signings, Taurean Prince and DeAndre Jordan, in particular, have looked good. Still, Marks wanted the reporters present to know it’s not just about the talent. What has driven him and the team for the past three years is still paramount. Culture isnt just a buzzword. It’s their brand, he reminded the assembled multitude.

“Everybody’s been around and has been driving this culture together,” said Marks. “This is not one or two guys, it’s an army. Between the whole group here, from players to staff to everybody, they’ll be driving this culture.

“It’s going to be an interesting challenge. It’s going to be nice to see guys come in from other organizations and see what they bring to the table.”

The changed atmosphere evident in the media room extends beyond the walls of the eighth and ninth floors at Building 19 in Industry City. Twice in the last two weeks, TMZ has ambushed Kevin Durant, asking about his gait and the progress of his rehab, and Irving, demanding whether he and girlfriend Golden were now engaged while offering closeups of the diamond on her ring finger, “bigger than her knuckle!” As we noted in the Off-Season Report, the paparazzi aren’t following Julius Randle around. The Nets are now a “thing.”

That is the Nets are a real NBA team now, with superstars and super dreams ... and real controversies, too. See Wilson Chandler and Rodions Kurucs.

And they’re not afraid of letting everyone know it.

“We’ve never been focused on winning over New York. We’ve got different goals than that,” said Marks.

“We’re gonna compete and we expect the ultimate goal. Whether that comes whenever... Part of the fun is the journey along the way,” said Marks, adding, “We know this challenge is just starting. The challenge is a little different than it was in years one, two and three. The expectations are different. I think we’re up to the challenge.”

That, too, is new: nothing arrogant just the facts. The Nets didn’t commit to spending more than $400 million over the next four years without expecting a return.

How successful the Nets will be determined by their record and playoff run. But know this: it’s going to be very , very different.