Over one month ago, the Brooklyn Nets fired head coach Lionel Hollins and reassigned GM Billy King.
At the time of the moves, ESPN reported that the Nets’ GM position would remain open until a replacement was hired.
Now, one day before the NBA trade deadline, the Nets still don’t have a general manager running their team.
That’s a big deal, as it could be their last chance for several months to move any of their veteran players in hopes of getting back assets to jump start their rebuild.
It seemed on Tuesday that the search would be coming to an end, as Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Nets were closing in on Spurs assistant GM Sean Marks.
However, it was then reported that Marks was probably not going to take the job:
Spurs assistant GM Sean Marks is leaning toward not taking the Brooklyn Nets GM job, per NBA sources.
— Mitch Lawrence (@Mitch_Lawrence) February 17, 2016
Furthermore, when asked about it, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov decided to crack wise about the GM search:
When asked specifically about Sean Marks, Prokhorov said: “I have never heard this name before.”
— Andy Vasquez (@andy_vasquez) February 17, 2016
Later reports indicated Prokhorov was indeed joking — he also later claimed to not know who the Knicks were — but for a team that’s currently without a GM, it probably rubbed some people the wrong way.
It’s unknown why Marks turned down the job, but it’s not an encouraging sign for the Nets, who are facing an increasingly dark future.
The Nets are one of the worst teams in the NBA this year at 14-40, and there isn’t much light on the horizon. Due to the blockbuster trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce two years ago, the Nets are without a first-round pick this season, must swap picks in 2017, and are without their first-round pick in 2018. That 2017 pick goes to the Celtics, who seem to be on the rise, meaning the Nets might forfeit a lottery pick next year in exchange for a late-first-round pick.
This leaves a team without much promising, young talent few ways to rebuild. The Nets have reportedly tried to shop Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young at this year’s deadline to get back some picks or young players, but that job becomes even harder without a real GM running the show. Surely, someone in their front office is around to help facilitate a trade, but if the Nets aren’t willing to hire a new GM from within, then whoever is running the show in the interim seemingly isn’t qualified.
Perhaps the Nets’ only saving grace is the rising salary cap, which will give them cap space this summer and in 2017. However, most of the league will also have cap space, and the Nets don’t have many attractive pieces to reel in free agents. Once the best free agents are off the market, teams looking to make a splash can make trades, but the Nets, again, don’t have much to work with.
So, in the case of Marks or any other GM or coaching job candidate, the Nets are a difficult sell. They’re without their own first-round pick until 2019 (barring any upcoming trades), they have few talented, young players, and though they will have cap space, so will most of the NBA.
The Nets didn’t do anything unwise by taking their time on their GM search, but the NBA trade deadline is one of the biggest days in the NBA each season, and the Nets would seemingly want to have a GM in time to help start their rebuild.
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