Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks: three takeaways from the pre-season press conference


When a season ends too early, even a shortened offseason can go too slowly. The excruciating Game 7 loss to eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks has kicked off the 2021-22 season countdown for the Brooklyn Nets who will have the trio of superstars Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving in place. since the first day.

We’re getting closer to that moment, with the last mile on the trip, GM Sean Marks’ annual pre-camp media session. Marks spent an active summer reshaping the roster around Durant, Harden and Irving, and on Tuesday at HSS Training Center, joined by head coach Steve Nash, he discussed the offseason trades and looked to the season at to come.

Here are three key points Marks addressed on Tuesday:

ON EXPECTATIONS

There’s no point in minimizing this, and Marks won’t care. Even with a roster that was ongoing throughout the 2020-21 season, even with Durant, Harden and Irving playing a total of eight games together during the regular season, the Nets had the most effective offense of NBA history, setting a record for runs scored per 100 possessions. When the trio took the field together in the first round playoff victory over Boston, they blew those regular season numbers up.

Pair that otherworldly offensive potential with the reinforcements added by Marks – back play depth to Patty Mills; the return of the LaMarcus Aldridge center; veteran forwards Paul Millsap, James Johnson and DeAndre ‘Bembry – and expectations for the new season are at the highest level.

“I think our goal is to be the last team standing,” said Marks. “There are probably, I guess, six, eight, 10 teams that have the same, similar goal and a realistic goal. For us, it’s about owning that and not running away from it and doing whatever we can to put people in place, be it staff, players, complete the roster, in order to try. to accomplish this. I think we also have to take into account that it’s a long season. Anything can happen, as we have seen over the past year. The ability to stay flexible and be able to pivot, this year, the year before and the years gone by has always been important and we’re going to have to do the same here. You never know what’s right around the corner. I give a lot of credit to our recruiting department, our draft department and our coaches. The work these guys have been doing over the summer with our players has given us the best chance of being exactly that, the last team in the game.

ON CONTRACT EXTENSIONS FOR KYRIE IRVING AND JAMES HARDEN

Both Irving and Harden were hampered in the playoff series against the Bucks, with Irving missing the last three games with a sprained ankle and Harden returning to go through those last three games after suffering hamstring strain. Marks said on Tuesday that “they feel great, they look great”. The Nets secured Durant’s signing on a contract extension and while discussing this and other moves after Brooklyn’s summer signings, Marks expressed confidence that the extensions would be finalized for Irving and Harden as well. Wishing to have in-person discussions and also give players some space over the summer, Marks said he “looks forward to sitting down with them over the next week, two weeks, and continue these discussions “.

“It’s something that these guys know exactly how we feel, and I think they’ve expressed their desire to be a part of that and build that together,” Marks said. “I think we have the opportunity to hopefully build something special here for the foreseeable future. The fact that they want to collaborate, that they want to come here together, that they want to build this together. I look forward to these discussions with Steve and myself and obviously the property, who has been incredibly supportive throughout it all, and with the players. Like any decision, it is a partnership and it is a collaboration.

BACK FROM LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE

When the veteran center expressed his intention to return to the NBA this season, “I tried to talk him out of it,” Marks said. “I said, ‘Why? You don’t need that. Why would you want to come back? “

Aldridge played five games for the Nets after signing mid-season last season before retiring after an episode with an irregular heartbeat, a problem he had faced for years. His return to the Nets after receiving medical clearance is a massive addition to the Brooklyn frontcourt, much like it was when Aldridge was added last spring. He brings a distinct skill set with his ability to work off the post, face up and also distribute the ball, and his return dramatically alters the depth of Brooklyn’s frontcourt.

“It’s not something we take lightly, it’s not something he should either, and he was very comfortable, wanted to be back here and said, like several of the our guys, that there was unfinished business here, so to bring him back in the fold, we really enjoyed our time with him last season, and we all saw what he was capable of and the dynamic he’s added to the team both on and off the pitch, “Marks said.” It gives Steve another very versatile big to play with, so after he’s allowed them – the specialists had given him the green light – and that he had resigned himself to it, he was fighting to come back. And I think that’s what you like to see in a player, that he wants to be here And he’s well aware of what’s at stake and so on, being the last team standing, and he wants to be a part of it.


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