Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets are ready to compete. With only 32 days until the tipoff of the 2020-21 season, Marks emphasized Friday that he is willing to be patient with player movement arguing there’s no reason to make any major decisions quickly.
Marks believes the team, as it stands currently, is a competitive, talented group of players and that’s one thing that suggests he has a lot of leverage. Moreover, James Harden wants to play for him. He doesn’t need to make a big move that would disrupt the roster or the future. Instead, he told reporters at the Post-Draft press conference, he’ll be ready and flexible for whatever happens. The end goal will be putting together the best roster whether it means a big trade or trades that cover the edges.
“It’s very difficult to discuss hypotheticals,” Marks said when asked about Harden rumors. “We don’t know what’s out there and when it will come to fruition. What you can do is prepare yourself to put the best roster you possibly can forward. We like the roster we have right now. I think it is a good group of guys, competitive group of guys, obviously very talented, and it will be about how they mesh on the floor.”
He said he is indeed conscious of how any change can affect the overall “dynamic.”
“You weigh up if you make changes. If we change out the 15th guy, the number four guy, the first guy, whatever it may be, that all adds a different dynamic to the comradery and spirit of things on the court. We just have to be ready and be flexible for whatever happens and hopefully the decisions we make put the best roster together on the court. I couldn’t tell you how we would make trades and whether that involves going after a bigger piece or whether that involves going around the edges.”
Marks acknowledged the trade rumors swirling around the Nets organization. The general manager said he’s approached his players about the rumors and hopes they won’t get swallowed up in the rumors but concentrate instead on what the team has on hand. He noted it’s a tough part of the business.
“Our culture is important and getting this group prepared in such a short time. I don’t know if it the ugly part of the business, the strange part of the business, the awkward part of this business but I think it needs to be discussed.”
“I have talked to several of our players about this. ‘Look, forget the rumors, lets just go out there and concentrate on what we have at hand, which is the group that is here.’ I wouldn’t be telling the truth if i said nothing is going to happen and at the same time, they understand that this is a business, and let’s be prepared.”
He emphasized that a team led by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving —and a group of battle-hardened COVID survivors — is a nice place to start. (Nine players on the Nets last season tested for COVID-19 in March or in July and Landry Shamet, acquired Wednesday, also contracted the disease.)
“I sincerely mean it when I say I like this group that we have. The group has been together for a while now and we continue to add some pieces to it. Training camp is going to be competitive and it is going to be fun with the group we have and if things change, things change. You have to have those honest conversations with players as it goes and not let the rumors just simmer in the background.”
And he noted again that he has had one priority throughout the offseason: resigning Joe Harris.
“It is definitely a priority. We would hope we can continue to build this with Joe,” Marks said. “Joe has been through it with us. Been through the ‘bubble’ and he has seen this program develop and he has developed alongside this program. It would be great to have him continue the ride with us.”
As for Spencer Dinwiddie, whose name has been circulating in a number of trade scenarios, Marks noted their relationship as an open one and hopes all of his guys can come to talk to him about whatever is on their mind, including trade rumors. He also said believes Steve Nash will play a vital role in managing personalities on the team with the end goal of doing what’s best for the Nets roster and culture
“Spencer, I have an open relationship with,” Marks said. “He can come talk to me about whatever he wants and I think all the guys can. That is part of the business when you have to navigate a roster, personalities, and so forth. How does the fit work and that is not just going to be myself but that is where Steve comes into play here.
“Steve has managed this before. He has been the point guard on some really important teams with a lot of different personalities. That is what we are going to do over the course of this year is manage them, do what is best for our roster, and hopefully, at the same time, do what’s best for all of our players.”
With the addition of Shamet and Bruce Brown, Marks said it’s all about “win now” and he said both players fill needs the organization believes are critical if the team is to succeed.
“We are definitely in the win-now,” Marks said. “When you add both of those guys, there is a development side to both of them. They are young, we have been watching them for several years, and they fill a need and what we are trying to do.”
Marks did note that the team is “certainly” looking to add some depth to the 3 and 4 positions as well. He didn’t provide any details, but there have been rumors about KD trying to recruit Serge Ibaka, the Raptors big. He would, of course, have to take a big pay cut to join Brooklyn.
As for what is ahead, Marks is prepared for a variety of scenarios. He wants there to be a purpose behind all the future moves ahead.
“We have to prepare because you do not know what is going to come up,” Marks said. “I think we are preparing for a variety of different scenarios. I don’t think we need to make trades or sign players just for the sake of making trades or signing players. There needs to be a purpose behind it, needs to fill the role, and again whether it’s the win-now perspective or something that helps us over the course of the next two or three years so we are weighing a variety of different options here.”
And even though he said he wouldn’t discuss hypotheticials, he did indicate that he doesn’t see him making massive changes in the roster ... or in the Draft cupboard. Was he trying to signal the Rockets front office that he feels he, not they, have the leverage?
“I couldn’t tell you if we are done yet or not but I don’t see us changing five or six guys on the roster.”
Similarly, Marks told reporters he does not want to “mortgage” the future either.
“That is the dilemma, right?” Marks said. “If you put it like mortgage the future, I would probably say no. There comes a fine line where you say this is what we are going to do, not only in a trade for a star player but any trade for that matter.
“You got to weigh the pros and cons of both. I think we want to build something sustainable here. This is not something that is a fleeting moment like ‘go all in’ and then a year or two years from now we are thinking ‘well great, we got to completely rebuild and we don’t have the assets to rebuild with so there that side of it.
“There is the other side of look - take advantage of what we have right now and taking advantage of the moment. We obviously have a talented group that we can put on the floor as is. Until we know what deals are being offered or what we are offering, it would be difficult to say. We wouldn’t want to mortgage out future - no.”
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