Randy Foye

Nets Notes: Culture, Marks, Tanking, Noel

In his latest piece for ESPN.com, Zach Lowe takes an in-depth look at the culture Sean Marks has created in Brooklyn since he was hired as the Nets’ general manager.

As Lowe details, the Nets were leaning toward hiring Bryan Colangelo as their GM over Marks back in February 2016, but team chairman Dmitry Razumov heard from several respected execs who praised Marks during that All-Star weekend, and had a long talk with Spurs GM R.C. Buford that helped convince the franchise Marks was the man for the job.

Since joining the Nets, Marks has attempted to turn the club into one players want to be a part of, creating a “serious but welcoming” atmosphere, as well as a sense of closeness and community within the organization. The club has also prioritized sports science treatment, keeping its players on minutes restrictions and having them fill out daily questionnaires about sleep, soreness, and diet. “I could play another five years doing what they do,” said Randy Foye, who spent 2016/17 with the Nets.

Lowe’s entire piece on the Nets is worth the read, particularly for more of those tidbits on the work that Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson have done to overhaul the team’s culture. Here are a few of the highlights from the story:

  • Razumov says team ownership is “ready to be patient” and would be fine with a 25-win season in 2017/18 if the Nets’ young players continue to develop and take positive steps forward.
  • The Nets will finally control their first-round pick again in 2019, and there has been talk within the franchise of tanking in 2018/19 in order to create an opportunity to draft a blue-chip prospect. Although Atkinson acknowledges that there’s  “faction” of people within the organization who believe that’s the way to go, it’s not the plan right now. “I don’t think it is in the cards to tank,” Marks said, per Lowe. “The goal is to compete and win games.”
  • The Nets hope their young core – which remains a work in progress – will help the team recruit veteran free agents, like the Sixers were able to do this summer. “We hope free agents say, ‘We want to play with those young bucks,'” Marks said.
  • The Sixers and Nets had brief trade discussions involving Nerlens Noel last season, but Brooklyn had no interest in giving up much for a player the team could pursue in free agency, sources tell Lowe. Noel currently remains a restricted free agent, though the Nets no longer have the cap room necessary to pursue him.
  • Despite recent rumors about Mikhail Prokhorov considering selling a controlling interest in the Nets, he continues to market only a minority stake in the team, according to Razumov.
  • According to Lowe, the NBA has talked about the possibility of banning the ability to swap picks in between drafts in which a team owes its picks to another team. That possibility hasn’t been discussed at length yet, but such a rule would have prevented the Nets from including a 2017 pick-swap in their deal with the Celtics when Boston was already receiving Brooklyn’s 2016 and 2018 first-rounders.

New York Notes: Galloway, LeVert, Porzingis

The Knicks made an effort to re-sign Langston Galloway over the summer, but the lure of returning to his home-state propelled the combo guard to join the Pelicans, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “I didn’t think I would leave [New York],’’ Galloway said. “But I had an opportunity to go home. That definitely was big, important for me and my family and wife. It’s definitely been great playing back home, loving the atmosphere New Orleans has.’’

Here’s more from the Big Apple:

  • Caris LeVert has only played 12 games this season because of a foot injury, but Nets coach Kenny Atkinson likes what he’s seeing from the rookie, Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays. “[LeVert’s play has been] Super positive. I just said that to our coaches, his energy, how hard he plays, how fast he is, his athleticism, how aggressive he is,” Atkinson said. “So that’s the positive we take out of [it], that he’s really starting to grow in front of our eyes. That’s good to see.”
  • Randy Foye is taking advantage of his playing opportunity this season and he credits his experience playing alongside diverse play-makers for his ability to help the Nets run an effective offense, Lewis writes in a separate piece“I played with [Blake Griffin in the past], last year being with [Russell Westbrook] and [Kevin Durant], and seeing the double team and just knowing you’ve got to have the right spacing,” Foye said. The shooting guard signed a one-year deal with Brooklyn during the offseason.
  • Kristaps Porzingis said Anthony Davis‘ game has greatly influenced his own, Berman passes along in a separate piece“Before I got to the NBA, I was watching him a lot — skinny guy coming out of college, how he was able to adjust to the NBA, at this level,” Porzingis said of Davis. “Obviously, I learned from him — even seeing defensively, able to hold guys in the post. His skill set is his, pretty all-around. He can do everything, but it was more seeing how he can adjust with his physicality.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Lin, Sixers, Anthony

The Raptors have two very difficult decisions looming in their pursuit of the top spot in the Eastern Conference, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post opines. They must decide whether to go all-in this season in their quest to knock off the Cavs, which would mean trading off some young pieces for another impact player, preferable a power forward, Bontemps continues. The Magic’s Serge Ibaka and Hawks’ Paul Millsap — forwards that the Raptors have pursued in the past and will become free agents this summer — would be logical targets, in Bontemps’ view. This summer, they’ll have to decide whether to offer point guard and impending free agent Kyle Lowry a max five-year deal worth over $200MM or risk seeing him walk. Lowry will attract numerous suitors but his age — he turns 31 this spring — could make a long-term commitment a risky investment, Bontemps adds.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets are taking a committee approach with point guard Jeremy Lin sidelined again by a hamstring injury, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reports. Coach Kenny Atkinson is rotating Randy Foye, rookie Isaiah Whitehead and Spencer Dinwiddie in Lin’s absence, while shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick is also taking a bigger role in the playmaking duties, Lewis continues. “I think it was ensemble,” Atkinson told Lewis and other media members. “That’s how we’re going to do it.”
  • The Sixers’ frontcourt pairing of Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor has been a colossal failure defensively thus far, as Derek Bodner of Phillymag.com details. In six games since coach Brett Brown paired the two big men in the starting lineup, the Sixers have given up an average of 122.3 points per 100 possessions when they’re on the court. What’s more troubling, as Bodner notes, is that the poor defensive performances have come against sub-par offensive teams.
  • Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek doesn’t believe Carmelo Anthony should have been ejected on Tuesday for swinging his forearm at the head of Hawks swingman Thabo Sefolosha, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Hornacek asserted that Sefolosha grabbed Anthony around the neck before the forearm swing, though Berman notes that was not apparent on replays while labeling Hornacek’s stance as bizarre. “I don’t blame [Anthony] for what happened, honestly,” Hornacek told Berman. “Watch the replay, watch the action. The guy had his arms wrapped around his neck. … What are you going to do? Just stand there or you going to get the guy off you? It’s a natural reaction.”

Nets Notes: Lopez, Lin, Whitehead, Kilpatrick

Brooklyn center Brook Lopez may see his production go down while point guard Jeremy Lin is sidelined with an injured hamstring, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The Hornets packed their defense in the paint Friday to limit Lopez’s effectiveness, and he can probably expect to see more of the same. The Nets are reportedly listening to calls from teams interested in trading for Lopez, but are not actively looking to deal him. “It’s a huge adjustment [without Lin], no question, because he brings so much to our team,” Lopez said. “It was just a matter of giving Isaiah [Whitehead] confidence and letting him know that we’re all out there with him and have trust in him. It’s not just one of us on the floor.” Lin’s condition will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

There’s more news out of Brooklyn:

  • The Nets have point guard concerns beyond Lin’s injury, according to NetsDaily.com. Randy Foye has been out with a pulled hamstring and hopes to return Tuesday. Greivis Vasquez is having ankle problems and the team hasn’t said when he might be able to play again. Brooklyn has Yogi Ferrell and Boris Dallo on its new D-League affiliate, but neither is considered ready for the NBA.
  • The injuries have created a “trial by fire” for Whitehead, writes Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily. The second-round pick made his first career start on Friday, putting up eight points and three assists in 23 minutes. “I think I’m getting much more comfortable, it’s just a matter of time,” he said. “Just getting better and better every time I get on the court. [It’s] just [about] reducing turnovers, just really getting everybody involved – it’s a tough process but I think I’ll get there.”
  • Sixth man Sean Kilpatrick is off to a strong start in his first full NBA season, notes Reed Wallach of NetsDaily. A D-League callup last season, Kilpatrick is adapting to coach Kenny Atkinson’s motion offense, averaging 17 points and four rebounds per night.“Sean likes to think of himself as a scorer, and I know he scored in the D-League,” Atkinson said. “But our player emphasis is to help him get better defensively. I think he can be better than he already is. He has size, and he’s got toughness.”

Atlantic Notes: Lin, Foye, Brown, O’Brien

Jeremy Lin is trying to justify the Nets‘ $36MM investment by becoming a better shooter this offseason, relays Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com. Lin, who accepted a three-year deal to leave Charlotte for Brooklyn, has altered his shooting style and is hoping for better results. Mazzeo notes that Lin’s percentage as a jump-shooter over the past four seasons is just 34.8%. “I’ve changed my form, brought my release lower and made the motion smoother in hopes of making it more consistent, creating a quicker release and using less energy so on nights when I’m tired I can still shoot it well,” Lin said. “I’ve also been working on my floaters and change of pace game because as I get older, I will rely less and less on my athleticism.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Randy Foye stands out as a veteran on a very young Nets team, writes Cory Wright of NBA.com. Foye, who signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with Brooklyn last month, has played 683 games in his 10-year NBA career. That’s about 200 more than the combined total of new teammates Anthony Bennett, Bojan Bogdanovic, Justin Hamilton, Joe Harris, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Sean Kilpatrick and Chris McCullough. Foye is aware of his new role as a veteran leader. “When I first came into the league, Kevin Garnett was my vet,” Foye said. “He was on me, but everything he told me, he practiced what he preached. He got on the floor, dove on the floor and a lot of the things that he did he led by example.”
  • Sixers head coach Brett Brown was happy to add a man who once held that position to his staff, according to Brian Seltzer of NBA.com. Jim O’Brien, who was Philadelphia’s coach for one season in 2004/05, rejoined the team after former associate head coach Mike D’Antoni left to become head coach of the Rockets. “His experiences in the NBA are documented,” Brown said of O’Brien. “I just felt like, for me, with his Philadelphia background, his NBA experiences, and the fact that I felt comfortable with him, I felt like he would be a veteran sounding board, and good for my other young assistants.”

New York Notes: Allen, Lopez, Foye

Ray Allen is seriously considering a return to the NBA and Longtime Knicks fan Spike Lee has been trying to persuade Allen to sign with New York, Ian Begley of ESPN.com passes along. “Spike Lee has been trying to recruit me,” Allen said. “We’ve been texting.” Begley adds that it’s not clear whether the team has interest in bringing the shooting guard aboard. New York has 16 players under contract, as the team’s depth chart at Roster Resource indicates, though only 14 of those deals are fully guaranteed.

Here’s more from New York:

  • Brook Lopez helped recruit free agents to the Nets this offseason and the big man finds himself enjoying his place on the team, Fred Kerber of The New York Post writes. “It’s abnormal,” Lopez said. “It’s a good feeling. I know they’ve been harping on the culture and all but it’s a completely unique feel this time, like we’re moving in that right direction. It’s something people actually want to be a part of.”
  • Randy Foye, who signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with the Nets, believes he could have signed a better deal elsewhere in free agency, but GM Sean Marks‘ vision for the franchise compelled him to come to Brooklyn, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. “There was more talk about building a culture,” Foye said. “A lot of places you go, they search and look for superstars to fill voids every year. But I think this here is more of a culture. And just see how the Spurs and how they build a culture, they have three guys and have other guys come in and are a part of that culture and help build that culture. And that was one of the most important reasons for me signing here.”
  • Foye added that he is coming to the Nets “with no ego” and he has no expectation of starting, Bondy passes along in the same piece.

Nets Sign Randy Foye

7:42pm: Foye’s one-year deal is worth $2.5MM, tweets ESPN’s Marc Stein.

JULY 15, 1:07pm: The signing is official, the Nets announced via press release.

JULY 14, 12:05pm: After missing out on their top targets last week, the Nets continue to move on to alternate options in free agency. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter), the team has reached an agreement on a one-year deal with shooting guard Randy Foye.Randy Foye vertical

The Nets attempted to add some talent and youth to their backcourt early in free agency by signing Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe to offer sheets. However, the Heat and Blazers, respectively, matched those offer sheets, and Brooklyn has turned to veteran free agents since then, agreeing to deals with Greivis Vasquez, Luis Scola, and Anthony Bennett.

[RELATED: Nets’ free agent signings, via our Free Agent Tracker]

A former seventh overall pick, Foye has played for the Timberwolves, Wizards, Clippers, Jazz, Nuggets, and Thunder over the course of his 10-year NBA career. Last season, he appeared in a total of 81 games for Denver and Oklahoma City, averaging a career-low 5.9 PPG, and shooting just 30.0% from three-point range, also the worst mark of his career.

Foye is only three years removed from a 2013/14 campaign in which he started 78 games and averaged 13.2 PPG and 2.3 3PG, and at age 32, he should still have something left in the tank. Joining the Nets, whose roster isn’t exactly loaded with talent, could give him the opportunity to earn consistent playing time in 2016/17. If he has a bounce-back season, he could land a decent deal as a free agent in the summer of 2017, when the salary cap exceeds $100MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Notes: Rondo, Wolves, Gasol

The Pelicans could still make a push for signing Rajon Rondo even after securing an agreement with E’Twaun Moore, John Reid of The Times Picayune writes. Reid acknowledges that there are other teams in the mix for Rondo and New Orleans appears to be a long-shot. There were conflicting reports on Friday as to whether the team was interested in Rondo.

Reid confirms an earlier report that the Pelicans were interested in Jeremy Lin, but the point guard’s price was too steep for the team. Lin signed a three-year, $36MM deal with Brooklyn on Friday.

Here’s more from around the league during this crazy start to free agency:

Free Agent Rumors: Durant, Anderson, Mahinmi

Kevin Durant‘s meeting with the Clippers has concluded, and Durant was “blown away” by the team’s presentation, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (via Twitter). It’s hard to know yet exactly what that means, since Durant was also reportedly impressed with the Warriors‘ pitch earlier in the day — it would probably be more newsworthy if Durant had been unimpressed by one of the teams’ presentations. In any case, the former MVP has sit-downs with the Spurs and Celtics on tap for tomorrow, then is expected to meet with the Heat on Sunday – and possibly the Thunder again after that – before making his decision.

Let’s check in on a few more free agent updates from across the NBA…

  • The Raptors had a meeting today in Los Angeles with free agent forward Ryan Anderson, writes Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Times. Toronto inquired on Anderson at the trade deadline as well, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca tweets, but the team would have to clear salary from its cap – and possible let Bismack Biyombo go – in order to have any shot at signing him.
  • Ian Mahinmi won’t return to Indiana, with the Pacers set to add Al Jefferson, but Mahinmi has no shortage of suitors, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com (Twitter links). Aldridge identifies the Spurs, Wizards, Timberwolves, Hornets, Mavericks, Trail Blazers, and Magic as clubs in the mix for the free agent center.
  • The Nets have put a two-year, $18MM offer on the table for Jared Dudley, who is still receiving interest from the Jazz and Suns, reports John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link).
  • The Spurs, Nets, and Bulls have expressed interest in free agent big man Jordan Hill, a source tells Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link).
  • The Timberwolves have been very active, reaching out to many free agents during the first day of July. Jamal Crawford and Randy Foye were among the players to receive a call from the Wolves today, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune, respectively (Twitter links).
  • Veteran big man Kris Humphries is a strong candidate to return to the Nets, a source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link). Brooklyn was one of six teams mentioned as a potential Humphries suitor earlier today.

Thunder Notes: Durant, Waiters, Mohammed

Kevin Durant, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, said the two most important factors for him in deciding where to play next season will be a strong environment and solid personnel around him, Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman relays. “Just when I sit down and think about it — to be honest, I haven’t put that list together, I guess,” Durant responded when asked what he is looking for in a team. “Just being around great people, being in a great basketball environment, that’s the two most important things for me. That’s all I really care about. Who I’m going to be doing life with every single day, who I’m going to be playing basketball with every day.”

The small forward also noted that the reports he wants to be courted by prospective teams are not true, Slater adds. I never said that. That’s not who I am. Whatever this thing entails, I’m ready to take it head on, but I’m not that type of person,” Durant said. “I mean, that’s not really — like I said, the two most important things for me is being around great people and having fun playing basketball. All that other stuff that comes with, being who I am and being in this position, it’s not really what I’m concerned with. So I never said that, obviously. You could say that about any player in this position, but yeah.

Here’s more from OKC:

  • Shooting guard Dion Waiters is eligible for restricted free agency this summer, but said that he hopes to return to the Thunder next season, Slater writes in a separate article. “Of course,” Waiters said when asked if he wanted to remain in Oklahoma City. “Why not? Since I got here I feel as though they have helped me become a better person off the court. It’s not even about basketball. I’ve never been connected with a group of guys like this that I’m actually close to. Why not? The best fans in the world. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back.
  • Veteran big man Nazr Mohammed said he would like to become an NBA GM in the future, Slater tweets. It’s unclear if the 38-year-old intends to retire and pursue a front-office position this summer. Mohammed will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason after appearing in just five contests this past season.
  • Assistant coach Monty Williams will not return to the team next season, head coach Billy Donovan said, Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript relays (via Twitter). It’s unclear if Williams will take the season off to deal with family matters in the wake of his wife’s tragic passing or if he intends to catch on with another team.
  • Nick Collison, Randy Foye and Anthony Morrow all said that they expect to be back with the team, but noted that much of the Thunder’s offseason plans depend on what Durant decides, Slater relays in a series of tweets. Collison’s deal for 2016/17 is fully guaranteed, but Foye is set to become an unrestricted free agent and Morrow’s pact is non-guaranteed.