The Brooklyn Nets have had to field much drama since their attempt to assemble the best team in pro basketball, and their efforts have been met with abject failure at every turn.
Despite boasting two of the best players in the league in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the Nets have become a clown show in the Eastern Conference, something which led to their firing of head coach Steve Nash on Tuesday.
The Nets have gotten off to a 2-6 start to the season and, though they had decided to keep Nash around after Durant asked for him to be fired, they’ve been forced to part ways with the former two-time MVP on the back of the team’s horrendous form.
General manager Sean Marks has been through quite the blender with the Nets these past few seasons, from the failed James Harden experiment, to Kyrie not playing for most of last season, to trading for Ben Simmons, to Durant wanting to leave, to yet another Irving controversy, with the point guard now in hot water over a Twitter post considered to be antisemitic. It would certainly be understandable if Marks opted to just leave Brooklyn.
The GM had yet another uncomfortable outing in front of the press this week, as he was made to explain why Nash was fired just seven games into the season and whether or not the Nets are actually considering replacing him with Ime Udoka.
Udoka is serving out a year’s suspension with the Boston Celtics, following a trip to the finals in his first season as a coach. The 45-year-old is understood to have had consensual relationships with female members of the Celtics’ backroom staff and it’s also alleged that he had been sending inappropriate messages to women working for the team.
Hiring Udoka would probably be another controversy in itself but it’s believed that the Nets are very close to securing a deal for him.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Marks insisted that the players had nothing to do with Nash’s firing and none of them were consulted on the matter.
“There was zero input from any of the players on this,” he told reporters. “I think this was a decision that we didn’t need that. Steve and I didn’t need that. Obviously, I’ve talked to [owner] Joe [Tsai] about this, but the players were not consulted. They were told ahead of time that this was the direction we were going.
“When we’re having these conversations, [Nash] is aware of ‘they’re not responding to me right now,’ or ‘that was not the performance I needed to see out there,’ and so forth. We were open with that dialogue always happening. And so you know, over the course of, you know, the last week, 10 days, we’ve just been talking and talking, and I think it came to a head.”
Asked whether the team has already made a decision on who’s going to be the new head coach, Marks replied: “No. Absolutely not.”
However, he did make revelations as it pertains to the type of coach the Nets are in the market for.
“When I look at the group of guys out there, I would love to see them competing at the highest level. I mean, we saw games this year where, I’ll be honest, I don’t think we brought it,” he explained. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it. There were times where a quarter was taken off, a half was taken off, a game was taken off. We didn’t compete. … The candidates that we’re looking for, are going to be looking for, that’s going to be one of their attributes. Competitive and having a voice to hold guys accountable.”
The Nets are still among the favorites to win the NBA Championship this year with New York sportsbooks and fans can get odds of 9/1 with most of the biggest online bookies at the moment.
It’s up left to time to tell if the Nets hire Udoka, but they don’t have a lot of time and will want to get a new leader in at the soonest.
“Obviously, there’s a reason why we made this move when we did, because time is ticking,” Marks noted. “So we do want this process to be a thorough one. We’re not going to skip steps on that. And we’ll do our due diligence.”
The GM also claimed to understand any unhappiness within the fan base right now, especially given the situation with Irving.
“Look, it’s understandable. I’m completely empathetic to what’s going on here,” he remarked. “I’m certainly not proud of the situation we find ourselves in, you know? … As it pertains to Kyrie, we are having discussions. … From the highest levels [that] we’re involved with the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] and getting their advice and just hopefully they can advise us.
“We can bring something to the table that both parties, all parties can be at least understandable to one another here and understand that there is no tolerance and no room for any hate speech, any antisemitic remarks whatsoever, whether it’s in this organization or any organization for that matter.”