Sean Marks

Nets Notes: Fernandez, Marks, Simmons, Whitehead, B. Johnson

At his introductory press conference on Wednesday, new Nets head coach Jordi Fernandez was optimistic about a quick turnaround following a disappointing 2023/24 season, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

We will see results right away,” Fernandez said. “This industry is about getting results and getting better. So how much are you gonna get better? It’s how we believe the process is important.

We know that there’s proper steps to take and we’ll see improvement right away. But the most important thing to me is to believe in team success over personal success.”

Fernandez added that he was enthusiastic about the young talent on Brooklyn’s roster, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

The youth excites me,” Fernandez said. “When you have a young roster — and talented — that means you’re going to have those guys for a long time. So you can develop them, and then they can perform at their best, and they’re here with you. So that’s extremely exciting.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • General manager Sean Marks said one of the reasons Fernandez stood out in the Nets’ head coaching search was his ability to coach players at various stages of their careers, according to Lewis. “Something that separates Jordi from a lot of the candidates (is), we found that he could look at a developmental roster, he could do various different pathways,” Marks said. “He’s coached stars before, he’s been the head director of development before so he’s worn many hats and there’s no roster that he’s not going to be able to get the respect of those guys.” Marks noted that as a big market, Brooklyn has an inherent ability to attract stars, which could accelerate the team’s timeline.
  • Marks said the team expects Ben Simmons to be ready for training camp in the fall, as Adam Zagoria of relays (subscription required). “There should be no reason not to,” Marks said. “I mean, the doctors and therapists and so forth have told us that he should be ready to go next season. Again, it’s going to be on Ben’s timeline. We’re going to have to see how he progresses through the summer.” Simmons was limited to 15 games in ’23/24 and underwent his second back surgery in two years last month.
  • Another injured Net, Dariq Whitehead, should be ready to go for Summer League in a few months, Marks told reporters, including Lucas Kaplan of The 2023 first-round pick had season-ending surgery for a stress reaction in his left shin back in January.
  • They don’t currently control a draft pick in 2024, but Marks said the Nets could look to move into the draft if a player they like is available, Kaplan writes. Marks also suggested BJ Johnson, who is the team’s director of player evaluation, could be in line for a promotion after former front office executives Jeff Peterson and Ryan Gisriel left to join the Hornets. “I think some of our guys have done a terrific job,” Marks said, per Kaplan. “In terms of just simply drafting, I mean, you want to take BJ Johnson. BJ runs our draft and has done so for the last several years. So, there’ll be more pressure and more responsibility placed on several of the guys in-house here.”

Nets Notes: Claxton, Budenholzer, Borrego, DSJ, Marks

Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, Brian Lewis of The New York Post said he believes there’s better than a 50/50 chance that Nic Claxton will remain with the Nets, suggesting the team has been preparing for having to give the unrestricted free agent center a significant raise.

“I’d go as far as saying they’ve been fretting over it because they’ve had to carve out the money for this,” Lewis said. “They want him back. … I think they’re reasonably confident that they can, as of today, come to some sort of an agreement.”

As for the Nets’ broader plans going forward, Lewis thinks the team will likely wait until 2025 – when Ben Simmons‘ maximum-salary contract comes off the books – to go “big-game hunting,” though that prediction came with a caveat.

“There are a few players who could accelerate that process,” Lewis said. Donovan Mitchell is one of those few. … If another superstar becomes disgruntled – like Giannis (Antetokounmpo), if he decides he’s given a lot of great years to Milwaukee and wants to leave – there are a few players who’d make the Nets pivot off of waiting until 2025. The baseline right now is the summer of 2025.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Discussing the search that led to Brooklyn identifying Jordi Fernandez as its next head coach, Lewis said he has heard that Mike Budenholzer‘s contract demands were “rather high” in terms of both years and dollars, while Scotto says James Borrego was another candidate who received legitimate consideration from the Nets alongside their three reported finalists.
  • Dennis Smith Jr. hopes to secure a multiyear contract in free agency this summer, according to Scotto. Asked if he sees himself returning to the Nets, Smith didn’t rule it out. “I don’t know. I wouldn’t mind it,” he said. “I’ve got a great relationship with these guys, and the medical and training staff is one of the best I’ve ever seen in the league – and I’ve got a real perspective on that because I’ve been around. I would welcome that.” For what it’s worth, Lewis believes Smith is more likely to land elsewhere than to remain in Brooklyn, particularly if he’s seeking multiple years.
  • NetsDaily passes along some of the highlights from a Sean Marks Q-and-A session with fans at the HSS Training Center this week. The Nets’ president of basketball operations discussed the team’s roster-building approach in fairly general terms and left the door open to the possibility that the club could trade into this year’s draft.

Sean Marks To Return As Nets’ GM In 2024/25

A couple months ago, there was some speculation that Sean Marks‘ job with the Nets might be in jeopardy amid a disappointing 2023/24 season which saw the team dismiss former head coach Jacque Vaughn.

At one point in mid-December, the Nets were 13-10. After Friday’s loss to the Knicks, they’re now 32-49 with one game left in the regular season.

However, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, Marks will return as Brooklyn’s general manager next season. Multiple league sources tell Lewis that Marks will be in charge of hiring a new head coach, with the team expected to “cast a wide net” in its search.

(Owner) Joe (Tsai) and I have always been in complete partnership,” Marks said in February. “And it doesn’t mean we always agree. I mean, you have to have good discussions and robust discussions, but Joe and I will make this decision, and he has given me no reason to believe that I won’t be able to make that decision.

By the end of this I have no doubt that we’ll come and find the best person fit for this job.

Marks has been Brooklyn’s GM since 2016. The Nets had made the playoffs each of the past five seasons prior to ’23/24, but were quickly eliminated in the first round on four of those occasions.

Interim head coach Kevin Ollie is expected to receive consideration for the permanent position. The Nets have gone 11-17 under Ollie, a longtime former NBA player who took over for Vaughn a couple months ago.

Yeah, I’m the interim, so I’ve got to find out if I’m keeping the job first,” Ollie replied recently to a question from The Post about his status. “We’re going to have some exit meetings here shortly, probably Monday or Tuesday and then we’ll talk. I’ll talk with Sean, our medical staff.

We do everything as an organization, we do everything as a community. We make sure we have the same voice, surround-sound system with our players, making sure we’re saying the same things. So we’ll have those talks.”

Nets Notes: Vaughn, Ollie, Marks, Bridges, Budenholzer

Speaking on Tuesday to reporters, including ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Nets general manager Sean Marks said there wasn’t a single event or game that made the team decide to fire head coach Jacque Vaughn. While some Brooklyn players expressed frustration following a December 27 loss in which the team sat several regulars, as well as after last Wednesday’s 50-point blowout loss in Boston, Marks pointed to a general lack of energy and effort when asked for specifics on what went into the decision to dismiss Vaughn.

“It’s about the level of compete,” Marks said. “We’re not going to be the most talented team in the league. I’m not an idiot. I totally understand that. But at the same time, this is a talented group of young men out there. And my expectations, and I think their expectations, should be to hold each other accountable to do the little things. The effort plays, the loose balls, the contested shots and so forth, diving on the floor.

“These are things that should be expected when you’re in a place that we’re at right now, where we’re clawing and grappling for every single thing we can. That’s what I would hope to see over these next 28 games, and that’s probably, to be quite frank, some things I haven’t seen. The level of effort and the level of compete has not always been there.”

New interim head coach Kevin Ollie made that lack of energy and hustle a focus in his first practice with the club on Tuesday, as Bontemps details. Ollie pointed out that the Nets don’t recover enough loose balls or draw enough charges, referring to the team’s poor numbers in those categories as “losing basketball.”

“I got something called EGBs, which is energy generating behaviors, and it’s 17 behaviors of those things. And we went through the list extensively today,” Ollie said on Tuesday. “(They) have nothing to do with talent but everything to do with heart and will. And I think that’s what it comes down to.

“Remember, I played 15 years professionally, 13 years in this league, and never once (had) a coach call a play for me. I had to get it with grit. I had to get it with determination. I had to get it with a mindset that we’re going to get better each and every day. That’s how I coach, that’s what I’m going to demand. I want them to demand that from me, and that’s from day one.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Marks is under contract beyond this season, sources tell Ian Begley of, and the veteran Nets executive has a close relationship with team owner Joe Tsai. Marks told reporters on Tuesday that he has been given no indication Tsai won’t keep him around to run the team’s latest head coaching search this spring. “Joe and I have always been in complete partnership,” Marks said, per Bontemps. “And it doesn’t mean we always agree. I mean, you have to have good discussions and robust discussions, but Joe and I will make this decision, and he has given me no reason to believe that I won’t be able to make that decision.”
  • Still, Marks’ future with the Nets has been a subject of speculation around the NBA, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on the HoopsHype podcast with Brian Lewis of The New York Post. According to Scotto, in the event that Marks remains in Brooklyn, one possibility floated in league circles is a scenario in which the Nets promote assistant general manager Jeff Peterson to GM and give him more day-to-day responsibilities while Marks stays above him in the front office hierarchy.
  • Scotto and Lewis discussed many more Nets-related topics in the HoopsHype podcast, including the futures of players like Nic Claxton, Cam Thomas, and Ben Simmons in Brooklyn, Scotto also said there were rumblings that certain players – including Mikal Bridges and former Net Spencer Dinwiddie – weren’t thrilled by the fact that Vaughn’s offensive game plan focused so heavily on Simmons, who hasn’t been healthy for most of his time in Brooklyn.
  • Bridges said on Tuesday that he wants to remain in Brooklyn long-term, per Dan Martin of The New York Post. “I’m here now and want to stay here,” Bridges said. “And I’m going to keep grinding and getting to wherever we’ve got to get to win, and that’s why I’m here for.” The Nets turned away trade inquiries this season on Bridges and their goal is to ultimately acquire a star or two to play alongside him, per Scotto.
  • In a pair of stories for The New York Post, Mike Vaccaro wonders what it will take for the Nets to move on from Marks, while Zach Braziller identifies several potential candidates for Brooklyn’s permanent head coaching job. That list begins with Mike Budenholzer, whose name is “at the tip of everyone’s tongue” in discussing possible candidates, according to Scotto.

Nets Notes: Vaughn, Bridges, Wilson, Schröder

The Nets fired Jacque Vaughn this morning, a quick turnaround for a coach who signed a four-year contract at around $5MM per year last year, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. However, as Fischer writes, Vaughn wasn’t initially the team’s preferred candidate — that was now-Rockets coach Ime Udoka. Players losing confidence in Vaughn and the Nets losing 18 of their previous 24 games spelled the end of his tenure in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn plans to pursue stars to pair with two-way wing Mikal Bridges, for whom the franchise has repeatedly turned down trade packages of first-round picks. Fischer notes that Damian Lillard had interest in teaming with Bridges last offseason, which is as an indication that other star players could follow suit in the future. With current players upset by the structure of the offense, per Fischer, the Nets felt it was best to stay as appealing as possible to outside free agents.

According to both Fischer and SNY’s Ian Begley (Twitter video link), there’s rising speculation that general manager Sean Marks could soon be out the door. While Fischer acknowledges Marks’ high standing with Nets governors Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, both note Vaughn is the third coach hired and fired by Marks.

Even though he wasn’t their first option last year, the Nets gave Vaughn the luxury of filling out most of his staff, something that is becoming less common. Kevin Ollie will be given the chance to make an impression as the interim head coach, though Fischer names Mike Budenholzer and James Borrego as potential options for the permanent job after this season.

We have more from the Nets:

  • Vaughn issued a statement to ESPN after he was dismissed this morning, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). “To Joe Tsai, Clara Wu-Tsai, Ollie Weisberg, Sam Zussman, Sean Marks and front office, Nets coaches, staff, players, BSE family and the entire Brooklyn borough: It was a pleasure being your Head Coach,” Vaughn’s statement reads. “I hope each individual I interacted with felt respected and valued. Just know I gave you everything I had every single day. Onto the next chapter. Amor Fati.
  • Jalen Wilson, on a two-way contract with Brooklyn, made his first big in-game impression on the Nets when he recorded 21 points and 10 rebounds while getting to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo in a Dec. 27 loss to Milwaukee, The New York Post’s Andrew Crane writes. Wilson’s role has been steadily increasing as of late, and he’s played the final six minutes of the fourth quarter in each of the Nets’ past four games. Moving Royce O’Neale at the deadline opened up some minutes for the 6’8″ power forward, and he’s averaging 7.8 points in 25.8 minutes over his past five games while shooting 69.2% on his threes.
  • The Nets acquired veteran point guard Dennis Schröder at the deadline from the Raptors and he’s immediately taking on a big role for his new team. Though his scoring average is down, Schröder is playing 25.3 minutes in his first three games with the team, including one start. In a subscriber-only story, Brian Lewis of the New York Post breaks down what Brooklyn is hoping to get from the vet and what the club can do for him.

Eastern Notes: Rivers, Knicks, Nets, Murphy

Now that the Sixers have been eliminated by the Celtics, is Doc Rivers a goner? Marc Stein wrote in his latest Substack article prior to Game 7 on Sunday that there have been recent murmurs Rivers’ status could become precarious if the team failed to close out the series. It wouldn’t be surprising, considering that proven coaches like Mike Budenholzer and Monty Williams have recently been dismissed due to postseason disappointments.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • With a wealth of extra draft picks and some solid young players, the Knicks could be in line for the next star who demands a trade, Eric Pincus writes for Bleacher Report. The salaries of Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier could help facilitate a deal, along with potential younger trade pieces such as Mitchell Robinson, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes and Obi Toppin.
  • After getting burned by trying to build around superstars, the Nets will be looking to build around players who want to stay with the franchise, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. GM Sean Marks will have a busy offseason but the thing he’ll be looking for the most is high-character guys who want to be part of the group. “It’s got to come authentically. It’s got to be real,” Marks said. “I mean, I think we’ve seen it before, not just here but around the league. You bring somebody in and it’s not authentic to who they are. We want to make sure people that want to come here want to be part of something special and being part of Brooklyn and part of this unique situation.”
  • Former Pistons executive Rob Murphy and his legal representatives are firing back at the woman who accused him of harassment, Tresa Baldas of the Detroit Free Press reports. His lawyer alleged the Pistons cleared his client months ago of sexual harassment following an internal investigation. The same counsel added that Murphy looks forward to defending his name through the judicial process.

Nets Notes: Offseason Approach, Simmons, Bridges, Johnson, Draft Picks

Nets general manager Sean Marks says the changes he’ll make this offseason will be designed to make the roster bigger and meaner, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. The team ranked among the league’s worst in overall rebound percentage and defensive rebounding percentage.

“Without a doubt we need to make some changes in terms of adding some size. I think (coach Jacque Vaughn) said it (Saturday) night, add a little nastiness,” Marks said. “Without a doubt we need to make some changes. Add a little bit of the Brooklyn grit that we’ve talked about for sort of six years.”

We have more on the Nets:

  • In the same Lewis story, Marks remarked that he anticipates Ben Simmons to be 100 percent physically “probably by September 1st.” Marks has stated he doesn’t believe Simmons will require another back surgery. Marks also expressed confidence that Mikal Bridges can be the No. 1 scoring option going forward. “Regarding Mikal, I think he’s proven to a lot of people that his role can continue to get better and better and bigger and bigger, so I think I would be pretty silly to be up here and limit him and say he cannot be something,” Marks said. “I think that a few people have had their eyes opened to what he can do.”
  • Re-signing restricted free agent Cameron Johnson is a high priority for Marks, Lewis writes in a separate story. Johnson, who was acquired in the Kevin Durant blockbuster, is not only a crucial piece on the court but a popular locker room presence. “Everybody sees what he delivers on the court, but when you see him in the locker room, it’s certainly refreshing to be around, and hopefully he’s here,” Marks said. “But he’s going to have decisions to make, so at the right time, we will certainly be having those discussions with him and his agent, and we hope that Cam will be back. He’s a big priority for us, there’s no question.”
  • Thanks to dealing their superstars, the Nets have plenty of draft capital. Will they use it to pursue another star like Damian Lillard in a blockbuster deal? Perhaps, but Marks isn’t committed to that approach, Lewis writes. “That could happen, but at the same time, I don’t think we’re in any hurry. We’re not going to be pushed to make changes just for the sake of making changes.”
  • Speaking of those draft picks, the Nets own the 21st and 22nd selections in the first round this June but some of the future first-rounders they acquired could eventually land higher. That potential scenario entices Marks, Alex Schiffer of The Athletic notes. “That’s one of the exciting things for us going forward, knowing that there’s only three other teams in the league that have more first-round picks than us from now until 2030.” he said. “So, that’s part of the pathway, right? This group has shown an ability to to draft well, and the coaches have shown an ability to really develop players well. So for me, looking forward to that is exciting.”

Nets Notes: Finney-Smith, O’Neale, Lillard, Johnson, Bridges, Simmons

Several executives around the league expect the Nets to be at the forefront of the trade market this offseason, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack notebook. They have a glut of wing players, led by Mikal Bridges. They also intend to match any offer for restricted free agent Cameron Johnson, Stein notes.

That means the Nets may seek suitors for Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale as they attempt to upgrade in other areas, Stein adds. Finney-Smith is signed through the 2025/26 season with the final year being a player option. O’Neale has one year left on his contract.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Speaking of being active on the trade market, multiple league executives expect the Nets to make a run at Damian Lillard if the perennial All-Star and Trail Blazers decide he’d be better off in another uniform, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports. The Nets would likely have to add multiple first-rounders to include Ben Simmons in the trade. Alternatively, they could send the Blazers multiple players — including a quality young piece — and a couple of first-rounders.
  • What is Johnson’s market value? According to execs that Scotto spoke with, he could get a four-year contract worth approximately $90MM. He’ll have some numerous suitors, including the Rockets.
  • Bridges feels responsible for Brooklyn getting swept out of the postseason by Philadelphia, according to Ryan Dunleavy and Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Though he averaged 23.5 points in the series, he was held to 17 points in Game 4. “I feel like these past games, I’ve been letting my team down,” Bridges said. “I hate not [winning] a game for them. It hurts me as I’m just trying, but it’s part of it, man. I just own up to it and realize all you can do is just get better. That’s the biggest thing for me.”
  • General manager Sean Marks confirmed a report that Simmons probably won’t need a second back surgery, Lewis tweets. “He is checking the boxes and meeting these different markers along the way,” Marks said. “So at this point, he does not need surgery. That is the hope going forward, that he will not have to endure another surgery.”

Nets GM Sean Marks Expected To Continue Running Front Office

Nets general manager Sean Marks is expected to remain in charge of Brooklyn’s front office in 2023/24, multiple sources tell Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

As Lewis writes, the past couple seasons have been nothing if not turbulent for both Marks and the Nets, mainly due to off-court controversies.

To open 2021/22, Kyrie Irving refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which reportedly played a role in James Harden requesting a trade ahead of last year’s deadline. The primary piece the Nets received in return, Ben Simmons, didn’t end up playing last season and underwent back surgery — he hasn’t looked like his old self for the majority of this season.

Last offseason, Kevin Durant requested his own trade and reportedly tried to have former head coach Steve Nash and Marks fired. Brooklyn eventually worked things out with Durant and he remained with the team heading into this season.

The Nets had a rough start to ’22/23, going 2-5 before parting ways with Nash. Things started to turn in a positive direction after Jacque Vaughn was promoted to interim head coach, then Irving was suspended by Brooklyn promoting an antisemitic film on social media. He wound up missing eight games, with the team going 5-3 in his absence.

The team was firing on all cylinders once Irving returned, with Durant playing at an MVP level. At one point the Nets won 18 of 20 games, but then Durant went down with a knee injury. Irving was reportedly unhappy with the team’s contract extension offer in early February and requested — and was granted — a trade. Durant then quietly requested his own trade to Phoenix, and was sent to the Suns on February 9.

Marks did the best he could to recoup value for the now-departed star trio, but the championship window certainly appears to be closed in the short term. That led some to wonder whether his job might be in jeopardy, according to Lewis.

However, one source tells Lewis that “ownership has full confidence” in Marks and the rest of the front office’s ability, while another tells Lewis that Marks and owner Joe Tsai are “in lockstep.”

As Lewis notes, the Nets decided to give Vaughn a multiyear contract extension after the trade deadline, with Marks quoted in the press release. That signaled that he might remain the club’s lead decision-maker for the basketball operations department.

A former NBA player, Marks has been GM of the Nets since February 2016.

Lewis writes that “Marks’ current contractual status is unclear.” A report (subscriber link) last summer from Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News indicated that Marks had signed a contract extension, but both Lewis and Alex Schiffer of The Athletic (Twitter links) heard differently.

Nets Notes: Bridges, Marks, Durant, TV Schedule

Mikal Bridges had been a fixture in the Suns‘ rotation since he joined the team in 2018, but he wasn’t surprised that Phoenix was willing to trade him when the opportunity to get Kevin Durant arose, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Speaking alongside Cameron Johnson in their first press conference as members of the Nets, Bridges said no one can be considered untouchable when a star like Durant is in play.

“It’s KD. I get it. I 100 percent get it,” Bridges said. “That’s just how it is. I would rather say I’d rather be happy that I got traded for KD than probably like somebody else who I didn’t think would be good or something like that. So just being a realist at the end of the day. Obviously, I’m going to miss everyone there, miss my home, miss all my friends that’s back there, but I get it. You’re getting Kevin Durant, bro. Maybe I would have probably made that trade too.”

Bridges said he didn’t believe the news at first when teammate Damion Lee broke it to him in a phone call. He also had a brief moment of panic when he thought his streak of playing 365 consecutive games might end. Bridges was held out of Thursday’s contest against the Bulls, but the NBA ruled that it didn’t count as a missed game because he hadn’t officially reported to the Nets. Because Bridges appeared in 56 games as a Sun and has the opportunity to take part in up to 27 with Brooklyn, he could actually play 83 games this season.

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Although their stars are now gone, general manager Sean Marks believes the Nets are in a better position than when he joined the organization in 2016, per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. At the time, Marks felt he was rebuilding from scratch with very little talent or draft capital to work with. Now he has a roster of proven NBA players, although their roles and long-term fit still have to be determined. “The last time I took over I didn’t have anything,” Marks said. “So it definitely looks different.”
  • Marks was able to talk Durant into rescinding the trade request he made last summer, and the GM was asked at a meeting with reporters after the deadline if he tried to do it again, Schiffer adds. “I think there’s a limit, right?” Marks responded. “I mean, you can certainly try and convince guys and you put your best foot forward and say here’s what the roster looks like, here’s what we’re trying to do. But at the end of the day, I think this works out for all parties included.”
  • With Durant and Kyrie Irving gone, the Nets are less appealing for national TV games. ESPN has dropped Brooklyn’s February 15 contest against Miami and replaced it with a Cavaliers-Sixers matchup, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.