Sean Marks told a media conference call Wednesday that the four Nets who tested positive for coronavirus are now symptom-free. All players, coaching staff, front office and the entire traveling party are now free of the virus.
The entire group has completed 14-day home isolation but continue to practice social distancing and government guidelines.
“As it pertains to the team,” Marks said, “I sense like all of us, like the rest of New York and really the rest of the globe, we’re trying to deal with this as best we can.”
The Nets announcement means all 12 NBA players who tested positive have been declared symptoms-free. On Tuesday, the Lakers made a similar announcement about two of their players. Five of the 12 —Kevin Durant on the Nets, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell on the Jazz, Marcus Smart on the Celtics and Christian Wood on the Pistons — have been identified. The rest remain anonymous.
The Nets were tested on March 14 and their status was disclosed three days later. Marks said that he doesn’t believe the team will be retested unless required by the government or NBA as a condition of a return to play. In an interview with The Athletic on Monday, Garrett Temple, a vice president of the players union, said players would likely have to be tested multiple times if the league resumes.
Marks spoke as well about the draft, free agency, the team’s coaching search and the remote possibility that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving could return this year, assuming NBA play is resumed.
On the possible return of the Nets superstars, Marks noted that HSS Training Center is closed and that the performance team, like everyone else, is self-quarantined.
“I couldn’t even give an answer on whether they’d be able to play this season I don’t think its fair to those athletes or the performance team to put a timeline on it. I think everyone is dealing with bigger, far more pressing things.” said Marks.
Marks noted that he hasn’t physically seen either of them in three or four weeks. So it’s difficult to gauge progress.
“You could take the other side of this which is that this hiatus has set their rehabilitation back,” he noted.
As for the team’s coaching search, it too is on hold. Marks said he hasn’t even reached out to candidates: “No we are not reaching out to anybody right now. That would completely not be fair to our group.”
He did say he will take a collaborative approach and speak to players, noting as well that he’s used players as a sounding board on other big issues, inviting them to draft workouts for example.
“Ultimately, I’m not going to put that decision on any one, two, four or five players. It’s going to come down to myself, the front office and our ownership, but it’ll be a collaborative approach.”
But the ultimate decision will be made by him and ownership. The Nets dumped Kenny Atkinson two games before the season was suspended. Jacque Vaughn, Atkinson’s lead assistant and former head coach of the Magic, was 2-0 as the interim and is expected to be a candidate for the top job.
Marks said he has been pleased with how Vaughn and his staff have been in contact with players during the pandemic.
“I think what I’m seeing so far from how our group — with Jacque and his assistants — how they’re working through this and how they’re reaching out to players and their collaborative approach within the organization has been great,” he said.
“I think it’s extremely important that everybody has not only my support but the owner’s support and front office’s support during this time. That’s our priority,” he said.
“It hasn’t gone unnoticed by our players,” Marks added
Marks also noted that his three international players —Dzanan Musa (Bosnia), Rodions Kurucs (Latvia) and Timothe’ Luwawu-Cabarrot (France) — are facing particular difficulties. They can’t go home because of travel bans.
“They are coping, and their families are coping with this,” Marks said. “But that’s really difficult. Their families are completely separated. They’re not in the same time zone, they’re in completely different countries, and obviously, there is a travel ban in place. So, these guys cannot go home. So, it doesn’t make sense for anybody to even try and leave right now. The best thing we can do right now is to stay here and support them and support their families.”
Spencer Dinwiddie, he said, is now in San Antonio.
As for the Draft, which may or may not take place on June 25, Marks said the premature end of the NCAA season as well as the uncertain status of the NBA Combine in May and even workouts will hurt. However, he noted that the Nets already have a wealth of knowledge.
“The biggest challenge for potentially everybody is the lack of exposure to these athletes,” Marks said. “This is a case where you trust the work that your scouting department has done for the last year or two years.”
The Nets currently have the 20th and 55th picks in the Draft.
As for free agency, whose date is also up in the air, now is the time for preparation, saying it’s “important to treat time wisely, do scouting, watch video and prepare financially for different scenarios.”
The Nets are over the cap and will likely be over the luxury tax threshold, perhaps far over depending on how they handle Joe Harris’ free agency in particular. In a podcast two days ago, Bobby Marks estimated that before the shutdown, Harris could have been in line for a teal starting at $14 million.
Both Marks and Joe Tsai have said the Nets are willing to pay the luxury tax if they believe they have a chance at a championship.
Marks also pointed out that Tsai and his Alibaba Group have been working with New York State and hospitals to provide needed medical supplies and devices. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has praised Alibaba in particular for their help in securing ventilators from Chinese suppliers.
”We know we have a long way to go here and it’s gonna take every single person, every staff member, every player,” Marks said. “This is a time that completely transcends basketball.”
Marks also said he believes the NBA will “turn over every rock” they can to get the game back.
“I think we’ve seen before with commissioner Silver and the league, they have a proven track record of being very creative, being very fluid and having a collaborative approach to this,” Marks said. “So, it would not surprise me in the slightest when they do come out with whatever the next couple of months look like. We’ll all be in the know, and we’ll all have had a voice and had a say in it.”
- Nets now free from coronavirus symptoms after testing positive - Malika Andrews - ESPN
- Nets GM unsure if Durant, Irving could play if NBA resumes - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Kevin Durant, 3 other Nets players who tested positive for coronavirus clear 14-day self-isolation period, are healthy - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- When Nets’ coaching search resumes team will consult players: GM Sean Marks - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Still no sense in having Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving try to return to Nets this season - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Kevin Durant and three other Nets cleared of coronavirus after positive tests - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets respond to Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving return rumblings - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets mailbag: Kenny Atkinson saw the writing on the wall - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ Rodions Kurucs has tumultuous year on and off the court - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets GM Sean Marks says its four players are now symptom-free of coronavirus - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets GM Sean Marks says NBA is ‘turning over every rock’ to see about playing again soon - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets GM Sean Marks on players coping, KD and Kyrie’s rehab, draft prep and more - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic New York
- Nets Players Who Had COVID-19 Are Symptom-Free - Ryan Chatelain - WFAN
- Nets’ GM Sean Marks: Team will speak with players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving to get thoughts on next head coach - Alex Jones - SNY
- CATCHING UP WITH BROOKLYN NETS GM SEAN MARKS - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets