Nets General Manager Sean Marks’ ‘Job is on the Line,’ per Executive

Sean Marks

Getty Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks faces a decision ahead of the trade deadline.

After a slow start to the 2022-23 NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets have been on a roll, winning 12 of their last 13 games and climbing to third place in the Eastern Conference. The shift in their season came after the team fired head coach Steve Nash on November 1, after a disappointing 2-5 start. Since then, In Nash’s place, Jacque Vaughn has taken the reigns in Brooklyn, and the team has gone on an impressive 22-7 run. 

Despite their recent run, there still remain questions with the program. Right now, there is no drama with Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant. But this summer saw a public contract dispute between Irving and the Nets and a trade request that Durant escalated to an ultimatum to fire Nash and Nets general manager Sean Marks. Ultimately Marks kept his job and has decisions to make as the trade deadline approaches. Will he trade for a big man like John Collins or Kyle Kuzma? What will he do about Kyrie Irving’s expiring contract? All of which may have major weight as one Eastern Conference executive recently told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney that now is ‘do-or-die’ for Marks in Brooklyn and that his “job is on the line” after being asked if the Nets will be making any more moves this season following their recent run.

“The Nets are as active as anyone right now. Look, they have had a miserable year, right? Going back to the Harden stuff, him getting traded a year ago, the Kyrie stuff, the Durant stuff, then Steve Nash getting fired, and the Ime Udoka thing. Just everything has looked bad there for a year. For Sean (Marks), this is a do-or-die thing. His job is on the line here, too. So he is trying to find a way to get something in that can help them, that can complete the roster,” the executive told Heavy Sports. 

The Kyrie Irving Question

One of the important questions that Sean Marks will be tasked with answering this season is what the team does with Kyrie Irving. After being unable and ‘unwilling‘ to sign their All-Star point guard to a long-term contract, Irving opted into the final year of his contract in Brooklyn and is now in the midst of a contract year. His season didn’t get off to the right start, with the team having a 2-5 record and a team-issued suspension. In fact, the team’s governors, Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, even entertained the idea of waiving Irving after watching the documentary that he shared on social media, which was filled with antisemitic rhetoric. 

The point guard remained in Brooklyn and has been a major factor in the teams’ recent success averaging 28.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game in the month of December. But it is the final year of his contract and what the Nets decide to do with him at the end of it remains a question. This summer, he was rumored to be seeking a move and reunion with LeBron James in Los Angeles next season. Now, the Houston Rockets have also entered the scene as a potential Irving suitor. 

The New York Post’s Mark W. Sanchez recently shared that the odds for Irving to remain in Brooklyn next season is a real possibility, according to ESPN Insider Bobby Marks. 

“I don’t think it’s crazy,” ESPN front-office insider Bobby Marks told Sanchez over the phone. “I think [Irving returning to the Nets is] probably more likely than not.”

Will things remain calm enough that the Nets will still want Irving back next season, and will Marks be able to get a deal done? How the rest of the season goes will be a crucial indicator of that. 

The Nets Question at Big Man

The other question for the Nets is what they will do with their big men. This offseason, they were seeking a veteran big man to add to their frontcourt rotation but put a pause on finding one to give Nic Claxton and Day’Ron Sharpe opportunities to prove themselves early on. Claxton has been outstanding this season and may even be playing himself into Defensive Player of the Year contention with his second-place 2.5 blocks per game this season. 

However, despite Claxton’s strong play, they could likely use another big man to add depth and strength to their frontcourt. Early on, they were linked to veteran free agent bigs like Dwight Howard, Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins, and Hassan Whiteside. But the recent reports have also included younger players like John Collins or Kyle Kuzma. Which direction Marks goes could be a key decision in keeping his job as general manager of the Nets. 

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