The Nets organization hit its Mark.
The team ended its search for a general manager by landing its first choice — former San Antonio Spurs assistant general manager Sean Marks, the officials announced before a win over the Knicks at Barclays Center on Feb. 19. Negotiations reportedly went into the night on Wednesday before the two sides agreed to a deal. Marks played two of his 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association with the Spurs and worked in the team’s front office for the last five years. Leaving Texas was a tough choice — but Marks thinks it was the right one.
“Any time you’re having to get out of your comfort zone isn’t easy,” Marks said. “But at the same time, my time spent with [owner Mikhail] Prokhorov and the rest of the Nets group here during the interviews led me to believe we have a similar vision.”
The New Zealander brings an excellent pedigree to a team trying to regain stability and lay out a clear plan of where it going — things Prokhorov said have been missing.
“One big mistake we had was the lack of vision,” he said at the opening for the team’s new practice facility. “You need to know what is now, what is tomorrow, but also what is medium-term and long-term.”
Marks’ time in San Antonio gave him a taste of what a first-class organization is like. He won a title playing for the Spurs in 2005 and was an assistant coach on their 2014 championship squad.
The former forward and center ran San Antonio’s development league affiliate and some thought coach Gregg Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford were grooming him to take the helm. Marks believes he can apply what he learned to the Nets.
“We are all in this together — that’s the way it was done where I basically grew up on San Antonio,” Marks said. “The relationship that Pop and R.C. had — nothing was done without the other one knowing.”
He takes over a Brooklyn team that is 15–41 and second-to-last in the Eastern Conference. The Nets don’t have any first-round draft picks until 2019. Marks, who cut power forward and center Andrea Bargnani, on Saturday, said he understands the challenge ahead.
Marks’s personality and his eagerness to build a winner in Brooklyn impressed Nets management — he is a rare combination of modern-day player and experienced executive, and his pedigree made him an easy choice, an official said.
“It was unanimous decision by our decision-making committee,” Nets chief executive officer Dmitry Razumov said. “We knew immediately this was our guy.”
The team still has to replace head coach Lionel Hollins, who Prokhorov fired last month, and organization is looking for someone to bolster the squad’s defense, Marks said.
“Whoever we bring in here, they are going to play team basketball,” Marks said. “The coach is going to have a defensive mindset and a system that gets them playing well and accustomed to where I’ve come from.”