As the NBA’s truncated offseason moves past the draft and on to free agency, plenty of eyes are still on what the Houston Rockets end up doing with superstar James Harden.
The eight-time All-Star is reportedly ‘singularly focused’ on being traded to the Nets, having turned down an extension that would pay him $50 million per season, according to ESPN.
Nets GM Sean Marks joined the YES Network on Thursday to talk about Brooklyn’s offseason, which has included the surprise hire of Steve Nash and now rumors of potentially landing a third star to play alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Marks didn’t speak specifically about the clubs efforts to try to land Harden, but did say that anytime there are rumors about big-time names wanting to join the Nets, it shows how far the organization has come.
“There’s never a dull moment, and I think when maybe you’re the part of some rumors out there and so forth, you take heed and just look how far the Nets organization has come,” Marks said. “We’re obviously excited to get the team that we have, to be honest, out on the floor, and I think not only with Kevin and Ky and Caris (LeVert) and Jarrett Allen, you work your way through the roster.
“For those guys having the opportunity to get out there and, as you said, wear the black and white, that’s the most important thing. It’s a crazy business that we live in and things are thrown your way all the time, and you have to pivot and be flexible and maintain that throughout the season.”
What happens with Harden is still to be seen, of course, but no matter what the outcome is there, the Nets will still have a new superstar on the floor this upcoming season, as Durant makes his way back from Achilles surgery.
Marks gave an update on Durant, saying that no one is more excited than Durant for his eventual Nets’ debut.
“I don’t think anybody is more excited than Kevin himself to get back out on the court,” Marks said. “He’s mentioned numerous times that he cannot wait to hopefully be back in Barclays and wearing the Nets jersey and being out there. As it pertains to how those guys look and what we’ve see of them, they’ve been back in our gym now for a couple days, and being around, the feedback from our performance team and how they’ve looked, they’re preparing has been terrific. So, I know they’re hungry. It goes back to what these guys set out to accomplish a year ago when they said ‘Hey look, I want to come to Brooklyn. I want to be a part of this. I want to build something sustainable here and do something special.’ They’re putting themselves in a great place to succeed.
“And I think I’ve said this a couple times before, it’s been nothing short of remarkable to watch Kevin’s development and the way he’s attacked his rehabilitation over the course of the last year. We’re all champing at the bit and very excited to see him out here, see the entire group out there, but again I think that pales in comparison to how he’s feeling.”
With the draft, the start of free agency, and the breaking of camp happening almost all on top of each other this year, the 2020 offseason is unlike most others in NBA history.
But Marks and the Nets are taking it in stride, and the GM is excited to see what the future holds for a Brooklyn team on the rise.
“Without a doubt it’s a challenge, but I think this is a time of year we always look forward to. We always look forward to the draft, we look forward to free agency, and we look forward to the beginning of camp. Very rarely do those things sort of happen in the space of 10 days,” said Marks. “You don’t want to make any excuses because we’ve had – let’s be honest—we’ve had seven, eight months to prepare for this.
"I felt very comfortable (during the draft) and the buildup to the draft, and of course now we’ve got some hard yards ahead of us. We prepare for camp, prepare for free agency, and then really put the final touches on what the team may look like.”