You have to give Sean Marks credit in at least one area for his pre-game press conference on Tuesday night: In responding to a number of questions on the dismissal of Steve Nash as Nets head coach, as well as the ongoing Kyrie Irving saga, he read the room.
When asked what his message is to Nets fans who are no longer interested in rooting for the team, Marks replied, “Look, it’s understandable,” adding “I’m certainly not proud of the situation we find ourselves in.” And, if you haven’t heard this sentence enough from Nets brass over the past three years: “I’d like to get back to basketball.”
On Kyrie Irving’s now-infamous first press conference after his now-infamous social media posts, Marks merely stated it “didn’t go well.”
On one reason that the Nets decided to move on from Steve Nash: “There were times where, it was a quarter was taken off, a half was taken off, a game was taken off. We knew we didn’t compete.” Sean Marks may have largely spoke in generalities, but that damn sure doesn’t mean he didn’t tell the truth.
Other than dry understatements, Marks forced as much optimism as he could into his answers considering *gestures* all that. While admitting he couldn’t blame Nets fans for ending their support of the team, he also re-affirmed his public belief in the Nets as a potential championship squad: “I think we would not have made moves like this at this juncture if we didn’t think [that].” He would later add, “There’s been playoff teams that at one point, you know, look a certain way and make some moves and then change...we hope to be one of those teams.”
We know Jacque Vaughn will be leading the Nets for now, but who will be leading a potential turnaround once a full-time coach is hired? There is still no official word although both Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania reported that the deal with Ime Udoka was close to being done.
“No, absolutely not, no,” Marks responded when asked if it was true, that Brooklyn had already hired Udoka away from the Celtics. He also stated, “I really don’t think it’s up to me right now to give a list of candidates.”
Perhaps it is Marks recognizing the cartoonishly awful optics of hiring a coach currently suspended by his organization for sexual misconduct in the workplace, whilst dealing with a situation that has their second-most popular player trying to convince the world that sharing anti-Semitic media does not, in-fact, make him an anti-Semite. Perhaps Nets brass realizes that a gaggle of “Fight Sexual Misconduct” shirts in the front row may not make the “Fight Anti-Semitism” shirts next to them look any better. Maybe Marks knows the hire is already made, but the time to make the official announcement is not quite yet. That scoop-gurus Adrian Wojnarowski and Shama Charania, who each reported Udoka-to-Brooklyn is all but a done-deal, are not quite wrong, just early. We will soon find out.
We will also soon find out what Kyrie Irving will say in his next face-to-face with the media; it just won’t be after Tuesday’s contest vs. Chicago. Marks acknowledged that, at some point, Irving will have to face the music. But for now, the organization seems to be treating him with kiddie gloves, a strategy that you really can’t fault Brooklyn for. “At this point, we don’t want to cause more fuss right now with more interaction with people, like let’s let him simmer down,” Marks said of Irving.
In any case, it was hard to feel true excitement for interim coach, Jacque Vaughn who held just a four-minute presser soon after Marks exited. He expressed the utmost respect for Steve Nash, who he called an “unbelievable human being,” and multiple times that his job was to “prepare” the team.
Vaughn also recalled telling Royce O’Neale recently that, in the NBA, “No year is ever the same.” In a way, that’s true for Brooklyn. Dealing with the Irving situation and potentially hiring Udoka bring on unique problems for the Nets. But problems they are, and problems are growing like office plants inside the Barclays Center these days. It’s hard to say this year feels like the fresh start that Brooklyn hoped would come to fruition. Far from it.
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