It seems every day there is some new iteration of a James Harden trade rumor. On Christmas Day, Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Nets and Celtics had recent conversations with the Rockets. As Spencer Dinwiddie has said in another context, Woj is not to be trifled with, that he’s “the law.”
But Sean Marks also had a recent conversation, this one with Ian Eagle and in it, the architect of the Nets roster spoke glowingly of the same players who would likely find their way to Houston —or a third team, calling them “our culture drivers.” The Nets GM also talked about a player who could be an “X factor” later this season and what Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving want.
Eagle asked Marks about how this off-season he hadn’t made that many big moves, that the turnover between last season and this was the smallest of his soon-to-be five-year tenure. Marks used the opportunity to, once again, praise his veterans.
“We’ve stayed the course, been patient.,” Marks told Eagle. “Fortunately, we’ve been able to draft well and keep some of these guys and extend them and keep them here and watch them develop. I think that’s a big part of hopefully what will lead to the success for the Nets is watching these guys who have been here — Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen — the list goes on — that have come up through the ranks.
“They are our culture drivers because they know what it’s like to be here in this city and Brooklyn, play in Barclays and so forth. It’s been a pleasure to watch them develop. Then adding new pieces around the periphery. It hasn’t been a case where this year we have to go and do a whole lot of moves and so forth.”
He then added, with a laugh, “You could almost argue that our biggest free agent this year was Kevin Durant because he’s finally back which is terrific.”
In fact, much of the interview, which aired on YES on Opening Night, was about his core ... how they have developed ... and how proud he was of their progress. Being Marks, he also noted that “this season will be about being fluid, about being patient, and hopefully about over-preparing.”
When asked about who had stood out in training camp as “an X-Factor” —Eagle’s phrase, Marks first mentioned (surprise) Reggie Perry the big man drafted at No. 57 calling him “obviously very exciting,” then talked about how Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie had made great strides.
“There have been a couple of people in camp who people have been excited about. One would be Reggie Perry. I don’t know how many minutes he’s honestly going to get early in the season but just to have a personality like that, a player like that and I think that the coaching staff can see where this young man could potentially be down the road. That’s obviously very exciting.
“I think we look at what Caris did in the ‘bubble’— can he take another step up, continue that. He’s playing with such confidence in Orlando and the expectation now is that he feels great, can he continue to do that. Same thing with Spencer,” added Marks.
As for his superstars, Marks spoke about how he —and they— are looking forward to having those Nets already in place share Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s success.
“Just the dynamic of having Ky and Kevin play together and the other guys not to take a back seat! Because that’s not what we need! And it’s not what they want either! They want everybody engaged and playing their roles.”
While he didn’t predict a championship with addition of his superstars, Marks spoke about what they want out of their Brooklyn experience.
“For those two guys specifically, we know why they came here. They’ve mentioned it specifically multiple times. It’s about legacy for them. We’re hoping whatever we do this year on the court they continue to build on. They have said from Day 1 the reasons why they want to come here. There’s something special in Brooklyn but it’s as a group.
“We know we’re all going to do this as a group ... four people, five people, it’s gonna be a group. We’re going to have to collaborate, play as a team and also with the addtion of our coaching staff that has been there, seen that from all different walks of life which is going to be terrific which is going to be fun to watch this whole group gel and get it together.”
Marks also spoke about how much the team will miss their fans, telling Eagle...
“I think the fans know how much they mean to us,” he said. “It’s an incredible group, an incredible borough. Hopefully sooner rather than later, everybody gets to get in hopefully and experience what should be a very exciting and every thrilling next couple of years.”
We like that timeline.