Sean Marks made his first official statements to the media since the preseason, addressing the scrum virtually to discuss the details of the James Harden blockbuster.
With 25 minutes of time to ask any and all questions, reporters made the most of the opportunity by getting some new information on star point guard, Kyrie Irving. Irving, of course, has not been seen in the public eye––aside from a viral clip at a birthday party––since Brooklyn’s home game against the Utah Jazz on January 5. It’s been reported by The Association’s Anthony Puccio that Irving’s absence is related to “the riots at the U.S. Capitol, and the lack of repercussions for the police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor.”
According to Marks, the expectation is that Irving will be returning soon and that he’s “excited” about getting together when his new group of teammates. Though, because of that viral clip linked above, it’s up to the NBA to decide whether Irving violated the terms of the Healthy & Safety protocols, and that’ll dictate the timing of that return.
“Regarding Kyrie Irving and when he’ll be back with the team: Part of that is up to the NBA, and we’re waiting for them to come a ruling on the Health & Safety protocol,” explained Marks on Thursday. “Hopefully, we’ll have a ruling soon. I have talked to Kyrie. I know he’s excited about getting back on the court with his teammates as soon as possible.”
In the meantime, Irving has been cooperating with the rules of the NBA’s COVID-19 plans since the birthday party incident, testing daily according to Marks.
“Kyrie has been keeping up with his Healthy & Safety protocols and testing daily. Since he’s been doing that, it’s out of my hands. The league is reviewing.” Marks continued, “We look forward to addressing with Kyrie when he’s back in our building amongst his teammates, amongst his Nets family, and going from there.”
There has been some fuzziness around how the Nets feel about Irving’s absence as a whole. Pooch reported Wednesday that “the team’s patience with Irving is growing thin and they have made that clear with him.” Marks, on the other hand, seemed far more open to Irving’s “personal leave,” as long as that absence is backed by a “more than adequate excuse.” It’s unknown if the Nets feel they have that from Irving right now.
“We’re going to let Kyrie address this in his own way,” said Marks. “Without a doubt, the organization’s disappointed in not having any one of our players––in this case, Kyrie––not amongst us, not in the trenches with us. I don’t want to speculate and say why he’s out. I’ve had conversations with him. And I’ll continue to have conversations with him.
“We look forward to him being back in the gym where he will address this. We’ll sit down with him. He’s part of our family, this group is part of our family, and we’ll continue to build with the group that’s here. You ask if it’s okay if people miss time? It’s been well documented that if there’s reasonable excuses for their absence, fine. We have got support whether it’s our players or whether it’s our staff, and you would do that in any industry. You also would hope there’s a more than adequate excuse as to why he needs personal time. He will address that without a doubt.”
Now, you may ask that given that Marks seemed previously unwilling to unload a boatload of assets––like, you know, eight gosh darn draft picks and swaps––did Irving’s absence force Brooklyn’s general managers’ hand?
“No. They are completely separate from one another,” said a rather direct Sean Marks. “Kyrie’s absence and personal issues that he’s dealing with has nothing to do with us going after and attaining James Harden.”
Well, okay then.
In fact, Marks took it one step further; Kyrie himself was actually a key part of the process. Marks made sure to gather Irving’s input before signing off on the big trade package that included those aforementioned 8 picks, as well the talents of Taurean Prince, Jarrett Allen, Rodions Kurucs, and Caris LeVert.
“I spoke to Kai and Kevin yesterday as this was going down, getting their thoughts and really wanting hear what their commitment was going to be, what their conviction for this was. I know Joe Tsai had the same conversations. From multiple levels, I enjoy hearing their conviction.”
Conviction. Commitment. Connectivity. While the rebuilding “#Culture” may be a thing of the past, three new “C” words have taken its place.
- Nets’ Sean Marks still won’t reveal his true Kyrie Irving feelings - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving looking forward to being back, Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks says - Malika Andrews - ESPN
- Nets GM Sean Marks Says Team Is ‘Disappointed’ Kyrie Irving Is Not ‘In The Trenches With Us’ - Adam Zagoria - Forbes Sports Money