Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Brooklyn GM Sean Marks has no problem with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and other Nets sharing their thoughts on potential roster moves.
"These guys know the players better than anyone else. (When we say to them), 'This is what we're looking at. Well what do you think?' They'll be brutally honest because they've got to go play with those guys," Marks said in an interview on WFAN's Benigno and Roberts Show earlier this week. "So I think it's important to weigh their opinions from time to time, and we certainly do that."
Many NBA stars are consulted on personnel matters. So it isn't all that surprising that Nets management would talk to its players about potential moves.
But the issue arose earlier this season when Irving said publicly that the Nets still needed to add talent to compete for a title.
Marks was asked about Irving having input in those decisions -- and Irving's comments about the matter -- in an interview earlier this week.
"I'm absolutely not worried about that at all… I love that our players have ownership in this. (Kyrie) and Kevin (Durant) and the rest of guys that have all signed on here and are a part of this, they hope to build this, hope to build something sustainable and something not only they can be proud of but that's long-lasting for the borough," Marks said. "So, I always take a select handful of players in terms of (talking to them about) how we continue to build this. We've done that from Day 1, gathered their thoughts."
With Durant and Irving on four-year contracts, you'd think that the Nets have a limited window to compete for a championship. Both Irving (shoulder) and Durant (Achilles) are expected to be healthy at the start of next season. Irving was limited to just 20 games this season due to his shoulder ailment.
Several executives expect the Nets to be active this summer in pursuing trades to bolster the roster. That's something that Irving alluded to in his comments. The Nets don't have the cap space to add a significant star -- unless that player is willing to sign for a contract below his market value. So they'll need to use the trade market as a means to add talent.
Marks, as you'd imagine, said Irving and other Nets haven't talked to him about specific players to target.
"No, we certainly haven't had those conversations yet," he said. "Right now, it's far too early. I think we're making the most of this season and what's to come, and at the right time, we'll certainly sit there with the players and go from there."
The Nets have several players under team-friendly contracts, including Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince.
Only Marks knows if he's willing to include those players in a trade for a star. But it's worth noting that several other teams value Dinwiddie highly.
Some members of the Magic and Pistons, specifically, had internal interest in exploring trades for Dinwiddie prior to the trade deadline, per SNY sources.
Could a package including Dinwiddie have landed a player like Aaron Gordon from Orlando? Is Gordon the kind of player that can help push Brooklyn into the East's upper echelon?
Some execs believe a player like Gordon can help Brooklyn but wouldn't push them into the echelon of NBA title contender.
But again, the only person whose opinion truly matters here is Marks' and the Nets' players he consults.
If Brooklyn has interest in trading for Gordon this summer, the club will probably have significant competition. The Pacers are among the teams that had a degree of interest in pursuing a deal for Gordon before the deadline, per SNY sources.
In addition to Gordon, there will probably be other stars -- Bradley Beal? -- who become available via trade this summer.
No matter what happens in the offseason with Brooklyn, it will be interesting to see how Marks & Co. balance the need to win a title with their allegiance to players like Dinwiddie and LeVert. Those players can probably help the club acquire a star, but they've also been integral parts of the Nets' rebuild.
On the WFAN interview -- which is worth your time if you are a Nets fan -- Marks was asked about the idea that anything less than a title with Durant and Irving on the roster is considered a failure.
He didn't directly answer the question, but seemed to acknowledge the reality of those expectations.
"When you're rolling out Kevin and Kyrie and a group of young guys who are coming into their own … that gives us the best opportunity here," Marks said. "Again, let's embrace that journey."
Marks addressed several topics on the WFAN interview with Benigno and Roberts, a passionate Nets fan. The topics included Irving's leadership, Marks' disappointment with the season and whether the Nets take different approaches with injuries for veterans and young players. Here are a few highlights:
On Kyrie Irving's leadership:
Marks noted that the entire organization is learning and growing from a leadership perspective this season. On Irving, he said, "I think for a guy like Ky it certainly hasn't been easy here with the distractions of being home and so forth. But he's embracing it all. I think I'm enjoying getting to know him, to continue to getting to know him and so forth. It's been really great for our group to see just how competitive the elite players are. When you see Ky and Kevin and their discussions, whether it's with teammates or if it's with coaching staff or front office and so forth, just what they want to put out there and how they want to bring it every night and their focus, that's how you lead. You don't always have to lead by being a vocal leader. But it's your actions and so forth as well. So I think I'm enjoying seeing us all grow together."
On Marks' disappointment in the Nets' season thus far (Brooklyn is 26-30 and in 7th place in the East entering Wednesday's games):
"I think that's pro sports, right? The ups and downs. Just when you think you're headed in one direction, there's wrinkles thrown at you. That's all part of the journey and part of what makes it so special when you're able to get through an 82-game season and you're healthy. .... I wish we'd been healthy, I wish this, I wish that. But I think, at the end of the day, I think and I hope that we look back on this in a year or two and say these obstacles and this adversity, helps our guys. It helped our players, it helped our staff, it helped everybody get through this."