Sean Marks

Nets Notes: Simmons, Warren, Marks, Rupert, O’Neale, Claxton

Nets’ Ben Simmons, who is dealing with left knee soreness, is questionable to play Monday against the Lakers, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweetsT.J. Warren, who has a left shin contusion, is listed as doubtful.

Simmons didn’t play in the 122-115 win over the Knicks on Saturday after suffering the injury against Detroit on Thursday. Warren also missed Saturday’s game after playing on Thursday. Both are considered day-to-day.

We have more on the Nets:

  • GM Sean Marks has been traveling far and wide to scout a point guard, Nets Daily relays. Marks has reportedly twice scouted 18-year-old French point guard 6’7” Rayan Rupert, who plays for the New Zealand Breakers. Marks, who watched Rupert play in Australia and New Zealand, was accompanied on the trip by Nets director of player evaluation, B.J. Johnson. Rupert is currently ranked No. 18 on ESPN’s big board of 2023 prospects.
  • They traded with Utah for Royce O’Neale this summer and it’s worked out well, according to another Nets Daily story. He’s leading the team in minutes played while enjoying a career year. “[He’s] a guy that you trust at the end of the game, who’ll take the right shot, who’ll make the right decision at the end of the game, who doesn’t mind playing on both ends of the floor,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “He has the trust of his coaching staff, his teammates and he’s in the right spot.” O’Neale’s $9.5MM contract for next season is only partially guaranteed at $2.5MM but they’re likely to fully guarantee it, considering his value to the team.
  • Nic Claxton is enjoying the intra-city rivalry with the Knicks, especially since his team has won nine straight against them, Zach Braziller of The New York Post writes. “It does feel like a rivalry just because you felt the energy in there (Saturday),” he said. “We’re here at Barclays and they had a lot of fans and it was definitely a good atmosphere. But me, I’ve never lost to the Knicks since I’ve been in the league, I don’t think. It’s always fun playing the Knicks.” 

Nets Notes: Vaughn, Marks, Durant, Irving, Sumner, Curry

Under newly minted head coach Jacque Vaughn, the Nets have surged to a solid 3-2 record. Brooklyn seems to be thriving, at least in the short term, under the new leadership, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Vaughn had been a seven-year assistant with the Nets under various head coaches before he was promoted, first to interim head coach, and then to head coach in the wake of Steve Nash‘s dismissal earlier this year.

“I was excited for him,” Brooklyn All-Star Kevin Durant said. “I know the work that he puts in every day. I know how much he cares about the development of each player, and this team as a whole. Look forward to playing for him. All the guys have responded to how he wants us to play, so I’m looking forward to how we progress after this.”

The hiring of Vaughn marks a historic moment for the league at large, per Marc J. Spears of Andscape, as he is the 16th current Black head coach in the NBA, an all-time high. Spears notes that the NBA is comprised of 71.8% Black players, per Statistica.

Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports opines that the hiring of the player-friendly Vaughn represents an important move for Brooklyn’s future.

“You could see the way the guys gravitated towards Jacque and his coaching and teaching and charismatic attitude,” a Nets employee told Fischer, referring to his previous stint as an interim coach in 2020.

There’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • According to Ian Begley of, the Nets intend to see if Vaughn will be able to continue winning with the team’s current personnel before ultimately making a determination on how to move forward, be that trying to contend or attempting to retool the roster.
  • Nets team president Sean Marks indicated that he spoke with Durant prior to making the official decision to hire Vaughn for the long haul, but wasn’t necessarily soliciting his input, tweets Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News. “I update the players and the players knew ahead of time, but again, Kevin’s job here is to go and play basketball, and that’s what he wants to do,” Marks said. “So that decision was not up to Kevin.”
  • With point guard Kyrie Irving suspended indefinitely, the Nets have been significantly improved in every way, writes Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post. The team has gone 3-1 since Irving was banished. Vaccaro adds that lately Brooklyn has been actively looking to share the ball and appears to have stepped up defensively.
  • Part of the reason Brooklyn has improved as of late has been depth. Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post notes that guards Edmond Sumner, starting for Irving, and Seth Curry have been key contributors recently. “He’ll continue to do that, set the tone,” Vaughn said of Sumner, who missed the entirety of the 2021/22 season following an Achilles tendon tear. “He just makes a difference. He’s engaged, he gets the rest of the group engaged.” Curry, meanwhile, is one of the league’s most lethal long-range specialists. “I still got a long ways to go physically, I’m still working my way back,” Curry noted. He has been recovering from a left ankle scope in May. “Just trying to keep a good mindset of work every day and come to the game bringing energy no matter what. I’m going to make shots, like I said, eventually.”

Atlantic Notes: Harris, Udoka, Irving, Vaughn, Achiuwa

Sixers forward Tobias Harris is seeing his role change again after a recent injury to James Harden, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. With Harden sidelined for about a month, Harris is being asked to carry more of the scoring load.

“Evolving into what the situation is when presented,” Harris said. “Sometimes that is going to be a space on the floor. And obviously at times, it’s limited play calls. But you just find other ways to adapt.”

Harris is averaging 15.0 PPG through 11 games this season, but that number has risen to 22.0 in the two games without Harden. He’s also taking on more play-making duties, setting up teammates for open three-point shots with drives to the basket.

“I’ve always prided myself on being a very good team basketball player in the half-court offense,” Harris said. “That’s something I was always able to do and be a part of.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets general manager Sean Marks refused to provide details when asked before tonight’s game why the team didn’t hire Ime Udoka, tweets Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Marks also said there’s no update on Kyrie Irving‘s suspension, adding that he hasn’t talked directly with Irving, only to his representatives. Jacque Vaughn also said he hasn’t spoken to Irving (Twitter link). Vaughn explained that he wasn’t sure about his role in the Irving scenario while he was an interim coach, but that could change now that he’s been officially hired.
  • Because he’s only signed through the 2023/24 season, Vaughn is effectively undergoing an “audition” for a longer-term role with the Nets, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link). Wojnarowski adds that if management is happy with the job Vaughn does, he could get an extension at the end of the season. Woj also addresses Irving’s suspension, saying “there’s still a lot in play” regarding when he might return.
  • Raptors coach Nick Nurse is emphasizing defense to Precious Achiuwa, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet. Nurse had a one-on-one film session with Achiuwa today, showing him defensive mistakes that he made. Nurse projected Achiuwa to play 25 to 30 minutes per night before the season began, but said he has to become more reliable defensively for that to happen.

Nets Notes: Irving, Simmons, Tsai, Udoka, Snyder

Neither Kyrie Irving nor Ben Simmons will be available for the Nets this weekend, as Irving begins to serve a suspension levied against him by the team and Simmons remains sidelined due to a knee issue. Still, while Irving has disappointed the franchise off the court and Simmons hasn’t looked like his old self on the court, a trade involving either player is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the most recent episode of his Lowe Post podcast that Irving is essentially “radioactive” as a potential trade candidate (hat tip to RealGM): “Even if you drop the price to nothing, the baggage is just too much.”

As for Simmons, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports stated on his own podcast – Please Don’t Aggregate This – that he doesn’t believe the former No. 1 overall pick has any trade value either.

“I was talking to the team who has designs to rebuild Monday night when I was at Barclays Center,” Fischer said, per HoopsHype. “And like I asked that question, and I was told pretty point blank that they would have been interested in him before the season started and seven or eight games later now that interest has dissipated.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Addressing the apology to the Jewish community that Irving posted on Instagram late last night, Nets general manager Sean Marks said today that it was “a step” in the right direction, but that he still wants to have Irving meet with the team and Jewish leaders before being reinstated, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter links). Marks added that Brooklyn has not considered waiving Irving.
  • Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt also referred to Irving’s apology as an “encouraging step,” but said the ADL still isn’t accepting Irving’s donation, as he first announced on Thursday (Twitter links).
  • ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on Friday during an appearance on Get Up (video link) that Nets owner Joe Tsai had initially hoped Irving’s misstep could be a “teachable moment,” without any significant team discipline required, while Nets management and the NBA had pushed Tsai to be more punitive. Following Irving’s repeated refusal to apologize or to clarify that he isn’t antisemitic, Tsai realized a more serious step was necessary.
  • Although Marks has denied that any decisions have been made about the Nets’ next head coach, the team is believed to be in the final stages of negotiations with Ime Udoka, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who notes that Marks and Udoka have the same representatives at CAA and says he expects those talks to conclude in the coming days. Despite Quin Snyder being considered a potential target for Brooklyn following Steve Nash‘s exit, the team had no substantial contact with Snyder to gauge his interest in the job, sources tell Fischer.
  • In a roundtable for The Athletic, Alex Schiffer, Jay King, and Jared Weiss discuss why the Nets would hire Udoka following his ugly exit from Boston. Meanwhile, Ian O’Connor of The New York Post argues that rushing into a deal with Udoka will be Brooklyn’s latest losing bet.

Nets Notes: Toughness, Simmons, Marks, Durant, Harris

Thursday’s 29-point loss to the Heat brought back a familiar concern that the Nets might not have enough toughness to succeed against the NBA’s best teams, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. It’s a point that was raised recently by free agent addition Markieff Morris, who played for Miami last season and said Heat players considered Brooklyn to be “soft.”

Getting tougher with opponents was stressed during this week’s film sessions, and Saturday’s practice ran noticeably longer than usual, Lewis adds. The Nets have assembled a talented roster and they don’t want a perceived lack of grit to be their downfall.

“Yeah, the low-hanging fruit that we could honestly all agree on is sometimes in possessions we’re not playing hard enough,” Kyrie Irving said. “You saw it against Miami the other night. They were really physical, and we don’t want that to be our stigma or M.O. in the league. … The most physical teams usually win ballgames, especially down the stretch. So we’ve got to be tougher. Like Markieff said, we’ve got to be comfortable with being uncomfortable at times. We’re going to mess up things, but we don’t want it to carry over to the next possession. That’s what our [message] has been in practice: on to the next play. Regardless what the ref’s doing [or] our opponent is doing, we want to focus on us.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • After not playing for 16 months, Ben Simmons knows it will take a while to get comfortable again on the court, Lewis adds in a separate story. The Nets want Simmons to attack the basket more frequently, but he took just three shots against the Heat while committing six turnovers. Still, he remains confident that he’ll work things out. “Obviously, having back surgery and rehabbing, there’s a lot of things that physically I want to do that I’m not doing right now: getting to the rim, getting hit, things like that, and hitting other people,” Simmons said. “But that’s all going to come. We’ve got time. So in due time, it’ll come.”
  • General manager Sean Marks discussed Kevin Durant‘s offseason trade demand with Alex Chapman of the New Zealand-based NewsHub, explaining that none of Durant’s suitors was willing to offer enough to get a deal done. “I think, at the end of the day, other teams realized they don’t have the assets to give up to acquire arguably the top one-two-three player in the world, who’s on a contract for four years,” Marks said. “If they’d had to give away their treasure chest, their goals may be reduced.”
  • Foot soreness prevented Joe Harris from playing against Miami, according to a NetsDaily story. The team is being cautious with Harris, who has undergone two ankle surgeries over the past year.

Kevin Durant, Nets Agree To “Move Forward” With Partnership

Nets general manager Sean Marks has issued a statement indicating that star forward Kevin Durant has rescinded his trade demand and will remain in Brooklyn. Marks’ statement is as follows:

“(Head coach) Steve Nash and I, together with (team owners) Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, met with Kevin Durant and (Durant’s manager) Rich Kleiman in Los Angeles yesterday. We have agreed to move forward with our partnership. We are focusing on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn.”

The news represents a major about-face for Durant, who requested a trade on June 30, then reiterated that request earlier this month and told Tsai he’d only stay if Marks and Nash were fired.

Although Durant pushed for nearly two months to be traded, his leverage was somewhat limited by the fact that he had signed a four-year extension with the Nets a year ago. That contract begins this season and will keep the former MVP off the free agent market until at least 2026.

With Durant locked up for four years, the Nets could afford to play hardball in trade negotiations this summer, reportedly demanding impact players and a series of unprotected first-round picks from suitors interested in the 33-year-old.

Although many teams inquired and some made intriguing offers (including a Celtics proposal that reportedly included Jaylen Brown), Brooklyn never seemed to gain any serious traction in trade discussions. The Nets’ sky-high asking price and hard-line stance perhaps reflected that hanging onto Durant was their desire outcome all along.

Given that we’ve only heard from the team so far and haven’t gotten Durant’s perspective, it’s unclear how genuine or long-term his newfound commitment to the Nets is. But for what it’s worth, Brian Lewis of The New York Post says this isn’t just a case of the team convincing Durant to stay for one more year and be placed back on the trade block next summer — the plan is for it to be a long-term marriage, Lewis tweets.

With Durant staying put, it appears Brooklyn will enter the fall with its Big Three of Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons intact after an offseason full of trade rumors. With talented role players like Joe Harris, Seth Curry, Royce O’Neale, Nic Claxton, Patty Mills, and T.J. Warren also in the mix, the club has a high ceiling as long as its stars remain healthy and effective, though there may be some lingering tension to work through after all that has transpired this summer.

Meanwhile, the teams that most seriously explored the possibility of a Durant trade will have to move on from those trade discussions. That group includes the Suns, Heat, Celtics, Raptors, and Sixers, among others. It’s possible that one or more of those clubs could pivot to pursuing Donovan Mitchell, who is now the biggest star available on the trade market, but many will simply focus on preparing for the coming season with their current cores.

Nets Notes: Durant, Marks, Nash, Simmons, Curry

Kevin Durant‘s four-year contract extension with the Nets, which he signed last year, went into effect the day after he made his trade request and includes advance payment language that required the team to cut him a hefty pay check on July 1, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack story.

As we noted earlier today in our list of this season’s highest-paid players, Durant is owed a $42,969,845 base salary in 2022/23. According to Stein, the star forward’s contract calls for him to receive 50% of that figure ($21,484,922) in a pair of installments on July 1 and October 1. That means that Durant received $10,742,461 from the Nets on the day after he asked the team to trade him.

As Stein observes, the fact that Durant is owed another $10.7MM+ on October 1 adds another layer of drama to the question of whether or not he’ll show up for training camp during the last week of September if he hasn’t been traded by then. If he doesn’t report, it’s possible the Nets would decide to withhold that payment.

Here’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • Elsewhere in his Substack story, Stein says there’s a growing belief among rival teams that Durant knew Nets owner Joe Tsai wouldn’t actually fire GM Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash when KD made his ultimatum. One prevailing theory, according to Stein, is that Durant is trying to sow discord in an effort to make the Nets lower their asking price and trade him “out of exasperation.” If that’s the endgame, it doesn’t appear to being according to plan so far.
  • ESPN and ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy said during a Sirius XM Radio appearance that he believes the relationship between Durant and the Nets (including Marks and Nash) can still be salvaged.
    “I think it would be an awkward couple of days and then you win three in a row because I think if (Ben) Simmons comes back, (Joe) Harris comes back, (Kyrie) Irving is in a right space and is able to play and Durant comes back, they’ve got a really good team,” Van Gundy said, per Adam Zagoria of “And so winning helps camouflage any bad feelings and so I don’t think it will be as bad for as long as people might suspect on the outside.”
  • Simmons and Seth Curry are both eligible for contract extensions with the Nets, but Alex Schiffer of The Athletic doesn’t expect Brooklyn to lock up either player until the team has more clarity on its future. Even if the Nets get resolution on Durant and Irving, it seems unlikely they’d pursue an extension with Simmons, who has yet to play a game for the club and still has two years left on his current contract, but Curry – a free agent in 2023 – would be a logical candidate for a new deal.

Kevin Durant Rumors: Ultimatum, Harrington, Nash, Sixers, Celtics

The ultimatum that Kevin Durant presented to Nets owner Joe Tsai – trade me or fire Sean Marks and Steve Nash – hasn’t had its intended effect so far, Brian Windhorst said during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up on Wednesday (video link).

Windhorst suggests that by presenting Tsai with such a “preposterous” alternative to trading him, Durant was hoping to “speed up the process,” since trade talks between the Nets and potential suitors had stagnated in recent weeks. However, the Nets appear to be digging in their heels, while Durant is running out of options.

“He has asked for a trade and it hasn’t been granted. He has asked for the coach and general manager to be fired and that hasn’t been granted,” Windhorst said. “And so now, how do you go forward and report to training camp when you’ve been told no? That’s now the coming drama with this situation.”

Given that multiple reports have indicated no team is willing to meet the Nets’ sky-high asking price for Durant, the 33-year-old’s goal may have been trying to force the team to lower that asking price to a point where a potential trade partner would meet it. But Windhorst points to Tsai’s statement supporting Marks and Nash as a sign the team isn’t willing to reduce its trade demands, at least for now.

“Obviously, the first sentence – where he’s saying he’s not firing his coach and GM – is important,” Windhorst said. “The second sentence was a message to Durant and the whole league, which is, ‘We’re going to do what’s best for the Brooklyn Nets.’

“That is code for, “We’re not going to make a trade just to satisfy this player, no matter how good he is and no matter how much pressure he’s going to put on us. We have all the cards, we have a four-year contract.’ And so I suspect that that will be their position come the start of training camp, and that could lead to Durant not showing up.”

Here’s more on Durant:

  • A source tells Brian Lewis and Josh Kosman of The New York Post that the Nets’ decision to fire director of player development Adam Harrington this spring without consulting Durant is one source of tension between the player and the team. “There are simple things that erode a relationship,” the source told The Post. “You fired someone he was close to and didn’t have a conversation about it.” The same source suggested that Durant wants Marks to be fired because the star forward feels as if the GM “traded away too many pieces.”
  • Both The New York Post and Ian Begley of pushed back against the idea that Durant was the one who urged the Nets to hire Nash as its head coach in 2020. Sources told Lewis and Kosman that Marks was the driving force behind that hiring, and Begley has heard the same thing.
  • According to Begley, there are some “high-ranking” members of the Sixers who have been interested in engaging the Nets in discussions about a Durant trade. A Philadelphia offer would likely have to include Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, and draft assets. However, the 76ers’ ability to trade additional first-round picks is limited (they already owe two to Brooklyn), and Harris’ pricey multiyear contract limits his trade value, so it’s unlikely such a package would appeal to the Nets.
  • Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe hears from a source that the Nets “initially tried to pry” both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum from the Celtics for Durant, which Boston obviously had no interest in. The C’s also rebuffed Brooklyn’s attempt to acquire Brown, Marcus Smart, and several first-round picks in exchange for Durant, Himmelsbach adds.
  • According to Begley, Durant would have interest in playing in Boston, but he’d like to play with Smart if he’s traded to the Celtics. Begley also cites people familiar with the situation who say Durant would view Philadelphia as a “desirable landing spot.”
  • Celtics president Brad Stevens and head coach Ime Udoka have kept Brown in the loop about the Durant trade conversations, and Brown seems to understand the situation, a league source tells Himmelsbach.

Irving’s Agent: Kyrie Doesn’t “Hate” Marks, Nash

Responding to a New York Post report in which a source claimed that Kyrie Irving “hates” Nets general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash, Irving’s agent and stepmother Shetallia Riley Irving told Brian Lewis and Josh Kosman of The New York Post that’s not the case.

“I am not sure where this narrative is coming from but Kyrie does not hate Steve nor Sean,” Shetallia Riley Irving said. “That’s not a part of his being nor how he represents himself in the world. He’s about peace, love and acceptance.”

While Kyrie and agent may dispute the notion that he “hates” Marks or Nash, that doesn’t necessarily mean he loves the job they’ve been doing in Brooklyn.

Irving and the Nets have been at odds in multiple instances over the past year. The club’s front office and ownership group opted not to allow Irving to be a part-time player at the start of last season when he was ineligible to play in Brooklyn due to New York City’s vaccine mandate. The Nets were then unwilling to offer him a lucrative long-term contract this summer, prompting him to explore a move to another team before he eventually decided to pick up his 2022/23 player option.

According to Lewis and Kosman, Shetallia Riley Irving declined to comment on whether Irving agrees with Kevin Durant, who reportedly told Nets owner Joe Tsai that he must decide between trading Durant or firing Marks and Nash.

Nets Owner Tsai Publicly Supports Marks, Nash

Nets owner Joe Tsai went on social media Monday night to declare his support for the team’s front office and coaching staff, apparently closing the door on the possibility of Kevin Durant wearing a Brooklyn uniform again.

On his Twitter account, Tsai stated “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

Tsai met with the disgruntled superstar forward in London on Saturday. Earlier on Monday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Durant reiterated his trade request at that meeting, declaring he would only withdraw it if Tsai fired general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash. Durant, who is entering the first year of a four-year max extension, told Tsai that he doesn’t have faith in the team’s direction.

It would have been stunning for an owner to bend to his superstar’s wishes and fire the GM and coach, then essentially let the player pick the replacements. So Tsai’s decision to publicly back Marks and Nash isn’t surprising.

The franchise’s approach to Durant’s trade request remains to be seen. There’s speculation that Durant made the ultimatum to put pressure on the front office to lower its trade demands. It’s also uncertain whether Durant will show up if he’s still on the roster during training camp.