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Sean Marks talks about James Harden (not really) and Kevin Durant (a lot)

Sean Marks, ever the Sphinx when it comes to rumors of trades or free agency, was asked on YES Network’s “Nets Hot Stove” about rumors about a “Superstar” who might want to play in the “black-and-white,.’ It was an obvious reference to the biggest rumor in the NBA, that James Harden longs to play with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

The Nets GM was as one would expect vague, but he did answer Michael Grady’s question ... after a fashion.

“There’s never a dull moment, and I think when maybe you’re the part of some rumors out there and so forth, you take heed and just look how far the Nets organization has come,” Marks said. “We’re obviously excited to get the team that we have, to be honest, out on the floor, and I think not only with Kevin and Ky and Caris (LeVert) and Jarrett Allen, you work your way through the roster.

“For those guys having the opportunity to get out there and, as you said, wear the black and white, that’s the most important thing. It’s a crazy business that we live in and things are thrown your way all the time, and you have to pivot and be flexible and maintain that throughout the season.”

You could, if you wanted, draw different hints about the Harden situation from Marks answer. On one hand, he’s “excited” to watch “the team that we have.” Aha! He likes his current team that of course he’d have to rip apart to trade for Harden. But wait! He spoke about having to “pivot and be flexible and maintain throughout the season.” So there! He’s ready to make a deal for the three-time scoring championship, perhaps at the deadline!

Whatever. His answers were no less vague that the latest from Adrian Wojnarowski who says the Rockets are willing to wait.

Marks also disclosed that “Kevin” and “Ky” — Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — are back in Brooklyn and working out at HSS Training Center after spending the summer and fall in Los Angeles. Marks, who spoke about KD’s progress prior to the pandemic, was reserved in his estimation of Durant ... but left no doubt of his optimism. “They look terrific,” he said of the duo.

“I don’t think anybody is more excited than Kevin himself to get back out on the court,” Marks said. “He’s mentioned numerous times that he cannot wait to hopefully be back in Barclays and wearing the Nets jersey and being out there.

“As it pertains to how those guys look and what we’ve see of them, they’ve been back in our gym now for a couple days, and being around, the feedback from our performance team and how they’ve looked, they’re preparing has been terrific. So, I know they’re hungry. It goes back to what these guys set out to accomplish a year ago when they said ‘Hey look, I want to come to Brooklyn. I want to be a part of this. I want to build something sustainable here and do something special.’ They’re putting themselves in a great place to succeed.

“And I think I’ve said this a couple times before, it’s been nothing short of remarkable to watch Kevin’s development and the way he’s attacked his rehabilitation over the course of the last year. We’re all champing at the bit and very excited to see him out here, see the entire group out there, but again I think that pales in comparison to how he’s feeling.”

Marks, of course, is not alone in his optimism ... and excitement. “I’ll just keep it short and simple: KD is back again,” Jarrett Allen told Basketball News. John Wall, Gilbert Arenas and Isaiah Thomas have all talked or tweeted about how Durant looks, with Thomas claiming that he may even be better.

As for his coaching staff, led by Steve Nash, Marks said he’s happy so far with their, wait for it, collaboration.

“People are really collaborating and I think the humility with which he played with is so evident when he walks into our office. He asks a lot of questions. Involves a lot of people and honestly, the knowledge which he’s been able to give to not only myself and the front office but the performance team and also our players. It’s an exciting time and he has an incredible group of guys that are going to be helping him. The guys that have joined on here to be part of that staff, it’s going to be exciting and there’s a wealth of knowledge there.”

At the time of the interview, Marks couldn’t talk about the three-team trade that brought the Nets Bruce Brown from Detroit, Landry Shamet from Los Angeles and draft pick Reggie Perry from Mississippi State. He did talk about the challenge of a abbreviated, accelerated off-season.

“Without a doubt it’s a challenge, but I think this is a time of year we always look forward to. We always look forward to the draft, we look forward to free agency, and we look forward to the beginning of camp. Very rarely do those things sort of happen in the space of 10 days,” said Marks. “You don’t want to make any excuses because we’ve had – let’s be honest—we’ve had seven, eight months to prepare for this.

“I felt very comfortable (during the draft) and the buildup to the draft, and of course now we’ve got some hard yards ahead of us. We prepare for camp, prepare for free agency, and then really put the final touches on what the team may look like.”

As for the team’s goals for the season, like Steve Nash on Wednesday, Marks set the bar high but noted as well that so far, the team’s success is only on paper

“I think we all realize that we have a long, long way to go. We haven’t done anything yet. There may be some things that look decent on paper, but it’s the ability that hopefully now we can take another step forward. That starts from ownership, from our staff, players, all the way through here.

“There’s going to be a level of sacrifice and there’s a level of excitement. I think it’s important that we own what the goals are at the end of this, and that’s what we all signed up for.”

And there remains a lot to do, a lot that’s unknown.

“We’re going to have to be nimble,” said Marks. “Just by having that flexible narrative throughout, whether it’s training camp, the season. We’re not quite sure how we’re going to play. Are we playing in front of fans? Where are we playing? What the actual schedule looks like, and we’ll have to have some patience with that.

“But I think the fact that we went through a bubble before and the group that did that was nothing short of amazing, what we saw there and how that group came together from a staff perspective and players. That will certainly carry forward into what we’re trying to do over the course of the next six to eight months.”