As Marks noted, he predicted last year that the Nets would come to terms on extensions for Irving and James Harden prior to the season and neither came to pass, so he wants to avoid making that mistake again.
“That’s something that we’ve been discussing and we’ll continue to debrief on and discuss throughout this offseason … we haven’t had any of those discussions yet,” Marks said. “We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball, and be available. That goes not only for Kyrie but everybody here.”
Irving holds a player option for $36.9MM next season, and if he opts out, he’d become an unrestricted free agent and eligible for a five-year, $247.7MM maximum-salary contract if he re-signs with Brooklyn. He’s also eligible for a four-year, $185MM extension if he picks up the option.
Irving missed most of the season due to his vaccination status and it clearly had a negative impact on the team, with Marks saying “it’s obvious” that Irving’s absence was a factor in how the season played out. Brooklyn entered the season as championship favorites but finished with just a 44-38 record and needed to win a game in the play-in tournament to advance as the No. 7 seed in the East before being swept in the first round of the playoffs by Boston.
Brooklyn has up to 10 players who could become free agents this summer, so both the players and the organization have important decisions to make.
“What drives them? Do they want to be part of this? Are they motivated by something that maybe is not good for the whole team?” Marks said, per Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. “So those are questions we’re going to have to ask ourselves and also the players that we want to bring back in here.”
Here’s more from Marks’ press conference:
- According to The Athletic, Ben Simmons had an MRI after his back soreness returned prior to Game 4 against Boston and it revealed that his herniation had gotten worse, which necessitated the surgery. Marks said Simmons is feeling better and the team plans to have him around as much as possible. “We’re gonna be doing everything we possibly can to get him around our group. That is the key,” Marks said. “He needs to be in here, smell the gym again, around his friends, around his family and participate in this and let us help him build the culture together, build up together, build him back up because as (coach) Steve (Nash) alluded to, he is a big, big part of this.”
- Irving said after the season ended that he planned to stay with Brooklyn, but he raised eyebrows by stating that he’d work with Kevin Durant, owner Joe Tsai, and Marks to manage the team. “When I say I’m here with Kev, I think that really entails us managing this franchise together alongside Joe and Sean,” he said.
- However, Marks clearly wanted to put an end to that notion. He said that he is the Nets’ primary decision-maker and that he hadn’t spoken to Durant about the state of the team, the season, or about Irving’s future with the club, as Mahoney relays. “But at the end of the day, I mean more often than not, it’s myself making those decisions,” Marks said, “and it’s not me going to Kevin and saying: ‘Do you want this person? Do you want that person? Do you want that guy?’ I don’t think that’s fair to place that on Kevin. Now, is he surprised by anything? Absolutely not, because he will know ahead of time what we’re doing, what we plan on doing with, to be honest with the entire roster.”