Sean Marks

Atlantic Rumors: Green, LeVert, Marks, Williams

Danny Green believes Kawhi Leonard will have a tough time leaving the city of Toronto once he settles in during his first season with the Raptors, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays. Green, who was included in the blockbuster deal that sent Leonard to Toronto, made the comment during an Inside the Green Room Podcast. “The city of Toronto is gonna be hard to turn down after being there. I’ve been going every summer for the past 10-plus years. It’s a great city and the fans are amazing. … I’m getting a great amount of feedback, a great amount of love and all types of different stuff from the fans. So it’s gonna be tough for him to turn down.” Leonard can opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • LeVert played a total of 30 games at the point last season when D’Angelo Russell was injured, Milholen notes, and posted averages of 13.2 PPG and 4.8 APG in 27.2 MPG. Russell will start for Brooklyn and the Nets also have free agent addition Shabazz Napier at that spot. LeVert can also be viewed as a long-term insurance policy since Russell could become a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension, Milholen adds.
  • The early returns on Sean Marks‘ first-round picks bode well for next June’s draft, Jason Max Rose of NetsDaily.com opines. The Nets GM found two valuable assets during the last two drafts in LeVert and starting center Jarrett Allen, even though those picks were in the bottom third of the first round, Rose notes. Thus, Marks and his staff have shown they can not only identify talent but develop players as well, Rose adds. The Nets could have two first-rounders in June, their own pick plus the Nuggets’ top-12 protected pick acquired this summer.
  • Dominating at the G League level would make for a successful rookie season for Celtics first-rounder Robert Williams, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. That’s where Williams will spend a good portion of the season, Blakely notes, and the big man must prove the left knee injury he’s dealing with won’t be a major issue. Williams also needs to show more maturity off the court, Blakely adds.

Eastern Notes: Marks, Thomas, Graham, Portis

Nets GM Sean Marks promised to season-ticket holders that the team is no longer interested in tanking, according to a Net Income story. “This is not a year we’re just going to sit there because we control our own pick and say let’s just hope that pick is as good as it possibly can be,” he said during the conference call. “It’s important for the fans to see the trajectory we’re on.” Brooklyn’s goal for the upcoming season is the postseason and Marks believes there are enough pieces to make it happen. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t make a push for the playoffs,” he said. “Isn’t that the objective here? We’re not sitting here trying to win 20 games, so let’s put our best foot forward and push each other and see where it goes.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Knicks forward Lance Thomas is very impressed with draft picks Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, Jordan Pandy of Newsday relays. Thomas expects both of them to make an impact in their rookie years. “You can just tell from the Summer League they were really going after it,” Thomas said. “Those guys were playing like they were playing for contracts even though they already have guarantees. I like to see that. I love the toughness, I love the grit, and that’s what it takes to survive in New York.”
  • The Nets’ signing of forward Treveon Graham could prove to be a huge bargain, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. The undrafted Graham was a rotation player for the Hornets last season and is as a career 43.8% 3-point shooter, Lewis notes. If he develops into a 3-and-D wing and can also contribute as a stretch four, he will be a steal, Lewis adds. Graham signed a two-year, $3.15MM contract.
  • Bulls forward Bobby Portis said contract extension talks with the front office are ongoing, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports. Portis can sign a rookie scale extension before the start of the season, otherwise he’ll be restricted free agent next summer if he receives a qualifying offer. “We’ve been talking about it,” he told Johnson. “We’re going to talk more in the next week or so. Hopefully, we get things done. I’m not stressing about it.”

Nets Notes: Russell, Napier, Faried, Whitehead

Nets GM Sean Marks won’t rule out the possibility of giving guard D’Angelo Russell an extension but it seems unlikely, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter links). “For now, we’re going to see how this group plays together, how it all unfolds…I’m not going to rule out anything,” Marks said in a news conference, adding, “As we stand now, this is the group and we have no plans to make any crazy changes, whether that’s an extension or signing or trade anyone else. But things happen quickly.” Russell will make a little over $7MM this season and the team would have to decide whether to extend a qualifying offer of $9.16MM next summer if they don’t sign him to an extension.

In other news regarding the Brooklyn franchise:

  • The Nets will have to figure out how Shabazz Napier will fit into their backcourt but he’s not worried about it, Tom Dowd of the team’s website reports. The team already has Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie to play the point and Caris LeVert can also fill in at that spot. Napier was Damian Lillard‘s primary backup with the Trail Blazers last season. Napier signed a two-year contract on Tuesday. “That’s something I’m going to figure out when training camp starts,” Napier told Dowd about his role. “Right now, I’ll just continue to be who I am and come into training camp with an attitude of competing at the end of the day.”
  • Brooklyn took on Kenneth Faried‘s contract in a Nuggets salary dump but Marks feels Faried can be a major contributor next season, Dowd relays in a separate story. Faried has an expiring $13.76MM contract. “I think he fits with that Brooklyn grit that we talk about in terms of how he plays; he plays with high intensity, obviously at a fast pace,” Marks said. “His game will transition well to Brooklyn and what [coach] Kenny’s [Atkinson] wanting to do here.”
  • No one was more disappointed about the trade with the Nuggets than guard Isaiah Whitehead, the player shipped to Denver in the deal, as Bryan Fonseca of Nets Daily relays. Whitehead appeared in 89 games for his hometown team over the past two seasons. A source close to Whitehead sent a text to Fonseca after the trade that stated, “Being in Brooklyn meant everything to him.”

New York Notes: Near-Trades, Nets, Knox, Porzingis

The Nets selected Dzanan Musa with the No. 29 overall pick in Thursday’s draft and while GM Sean Marks said he was excited about the prospect, he admitted that the team was “very close” to trading up.

“You’re trying to figure out is the cost to trade up worth it,” Marks said in an interview with the FAN’s Mike Francesa (h/t Net Income and Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily). “And like most teams, you want to do it on the clock because you’re thinking: ‘Is my guy there? Is my target there? And what’s it going to cost to get there?”

”So at that point, we didn’t feel like it was worth it. We weren’t ready to give away the asking price. And at the same time, these two guys — [Rodions Kurucs] and Dzanan — we’d been targeting, so we’re definitely glad to have them in our family.”

Marks didn’t disclose which players or picks it would have taken to move up in the draft order, though he added that the organization likes its “solid vets on the team.”

Here’s more from the five boroughs:

  • Marks suggests the Nets will be active in free agency, as the pair of scribes relay in the same piece. “There are some things out there, whether it’s pending,” the GM said. “We’ll just have to wait and see in July, whether it’s how we use our cap space and how we move forward with that. We have flexibility in the future, which is important.”
  • The Knicks feel No. 9 overall pick Kevin Knox and Kristaps Porzingis will make a good tandem at the forward positions, Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. Knox, who spoke to Porzingis via FaceTime after the draft, believes the duo can make an impact in the league. “He stretches the floor, shoots the ball, goes down low. I think me, him and some of the other guys will complement each other very well,” the rookie said.
  • The selection of Knox could give Porzingis another reason to sign a long-term deal once his deal expires next summer, Berman writes in the same piece. Porzingis is currently eligible for a contract extension, though the Knicks may prefer to wait to reach an agreement with the former No. 4 overall pick until next summer in order to preserve cap space.

Atlantic Notes: Harris, Celtics, Saric, Prokhorov

Re-signing Joe Harris is one of Nets GM Sean Marks’ offseason priorities, he told Alex Labidou of the team’s website and other reporters during a press conference. Harris averaged 10.8 PPG and shot 41.9% from long range in 25.3 MPG this season. “I think Joe made it pretty clear from statements he made that he’d love to be back here. That’s how the organization feels about him, too,” Marks said. Harris made just over $1.5MM and will likely receive a significant salary bump.

In other Atlantic Division developments:

  • The Celtics might regret not trading their own first-round pick for Grizzlies swingman Tyreke Evans to fortify their bench, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News opines. It’s possible but certainly no slam dunk that the Celtics will get a useful player with the No. 27 overall pick, Deveney continues. Boston didn’t know at the time it would lose Kyrie Irving for the postseason but Game 1 against the Bucks showed how badly the team could use a playmaker off the bench, Deveney adds.
  • Dario Saric‘s 3-point shooting is a key component in the Sixers’ playoff run, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Saric had 20 points and went 4-for-6 from long range in Game 1 against the Heat. “It’s the future of our sport,” coach Brett Brown said. “If you don’t have a four-man that can stretch the floor you aren’t going to play very long in the playoffs.”
  • Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s stake in the team in 2015 may have been purchased at an artificially low price, according to Josh Kosman of the New York Post. Prokhorov did not make it easy for Forest City Enterprises to find an outside buyer when it tried to sell its 20 percent share of the franchise, withholding financial information from prospective buyers, sources told Kosman. Prokhorov would up buying that stake at a $875MM valuation and that valuation increased 270% in three years when he sold 49% of the team last week.

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, Marks, Irving, Ntilikina

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie added to his breakout season Saturday by winning the Skills Challenge, but it’s going to be a while before he can cash in on his success. Dinwiddie is making the league minimum of $1,524,305 this season with a team option for next season at the minimum of $1,656,092.

As detailed recently by Danny Leroux of Real GM, the three-year contract Dinwiddie signed in December of 2016 limits Brooklyn’s options. It can’t be renegotiated and extended under the latest CBA because it’s shorter than four years, and the Nets don’t want to decline the option and risk losing Dinwiddie in free agency. It would be possible to extend the deal without a renegotiation, which would get him to about $45MM over four seasons, but Dinwiddie may be able to do far better by waiting another year for free agency.

Brooklyn can offer Dinwiddie a larger extension on the second anniversary of his signing date, as the Sixers did with Robert Covington, but that wouldn’t change his salary for next season. It would also cut into the Nets’ cap ahead of 2019 free agency, when the team is hoping to be a major player.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Even though they’ll be one of the few teams with significant cap room, the Nets won’t feel compelled to make a splash in free agency this summer, GM Sean Marks tells NetsDaily.com. Brooklyn isn’t committed to a repeat of last July when it made a $100MM offer to Otto Porter, only to see it matched by the Wizards. “So what’s next,” Marks asked. “It’s not ‘We didn’t get Otto Porter so let’s go spend a lot of money in this direction, in that direction,’ knowing these are the non-negotiables that we’ve put out there on why we’re signing guys, why we’re not signing guys, stick to that plan.”
  • Knicks fans may find some hope in comments that Celtics guard Kyrie Irving relayed Saturday about Kristaps Porzingis, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post“I told him I would love to play with a big like you, man, when we played them in the beginning of the season when he came to Boston,’’ Irving said. “He’s so versatile. So I wish him nothing but the best and hope he comes back even stronger.” Irving will be a free agent in the summer of 2019, which is the next time the Knicks will have a healthy amount of cap space. Porzingis is expected to be fully healed from ACL surgery by then and could give Irving, who grew up in West Orange, N.J., a reason to consider coming to New York.
  • Knicks rookie Frank Ntilikina will spend most of the offseason in France and doesn’t plan to play in the Las Vegas Summer League, Berman reports in a separate story. The front office hasn’t discussed the offseason with Ntilikina and may send a developmental coach to France if that happens.

New York Notes: Trade Chips, Marks, Baker

The Knicks are sellers ahead of the February 8 trade deadline, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes, with their eyes set on the 2019 free agent class rather than anything short-term. He broke down several players who could be shed in the team’s pursuit of draft assets and cap flexibility.

Bondy writes that the Knicks would love to deal Joakim Noah but, as has been discussed ad nauseam, such a deal isn’t likely to come to fruition. Neither, Bondy says, is a trade involving Enes Kanter, the 25-year-old whose comeback season and $18MM contract make him likely to remain in the Big Apple.

A more realistic bet to be traded is Willy Hernangomez, whose age, contract and potential would be more appealing than, say, Noah.

Other players like Courtney Lee and Michael Beasley are likely to remain with the Knicks, Bondy says — the former because he’s a consistent producer on the young squad and the latter because there hasn’t been much interest outside of the Knicks organization itself.

There’s more out of Brooklyn and New York this evening:

  • The Nets won’t rule out dealing some of their veteran players, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes, but general manager Sean Marks isn’t rushing out to unload them either. “At the end of the day, if we’ve invested a lot of sweat equity in guys, I’d like that to be fruitful for the Nets organization,” he said. Wings DeMarre Carroll and Joe Harris have been said to be viable assets as the deadline approaches.
  • Injured Knicks guard Ron Baker will have to choose whether or not to undergo surgery on his shoulder, says Marc Berman of The New York Post. One specialist recommended such a procedure that would sideline Baker for three-to-six months.
  • In case you hadn’t guessed by now, Joakim Noah and Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek “pretty much hate each other,” Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News tweets.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Ujiri, Porzingis

There’s no denying that the Nets were in a pickle when Sean Marks took over from Billy King as general manager of the franchise. In the time since, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes, the former Spurs‘ staffer has changed the culture of the franchise by consistently and patiently strategizing ways to improve.

Another transformative figure within the Nets organization is head coach Kenny Atkinson. O’Connor details Atkinson’s hands-on approach and willingness to get in the foxhole with his players.

The results speak for themselves. While the Nets don’t exactly strike fear in their opponents yet, they’ve managed to amass a solid cache of promising young players despite the previous regime having unloaded a bounty of picks in one of the worst trades in sports history.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Ex-Celtics big man and current Heat forward Jordan Mickey gives his former boss the benefit of the doubt regarding his release from the team. Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets that Mickey was surprised about being waived in the summer but that he trusts that Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing.
  • Give Masai Ujiri more credit for his work with the Raptors, Tom Ziller of SB Nation writes. The Raps’ president of basketball operations has turned a fledgling squad into a consistent playoff team and now a potential contender, all without bottoming out.
  • Desperate to build enough strength to avoid injuries, Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis has been working with famous personal trainer Carlon Colker, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. The doctor and former MMA fighter has worked previously with Shaquille O’Neal and, uh, Justin Bieber.

Nets Notes: Culture, Carroll, Okafor

GM Sean Marks was worried that parting ways with locker room favorites Trevor Booker and Sean Kilpatrick would disrupt the Nets‘ chemistry, which is why he took a proactive approach, personally explaining to the team why the move was best for the organization. Coach Kenny Atkinson also sat down with several players to make sure the reason for the transactions was understood, Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays.

“The plan going forward is to always inform these guys of important decisions like that, change of roster,” Atkinson said before adding that he feels the team will accept Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas.

“I think it’ll be a seamless transition,” the coach continued. “They’ll accept these two new guys and the plan for the future is to have a better Nets team going forward. That was the goal. I’m glad we explained it to the players. That’s the type of organization we want, with open communication with the players.”

Here’s more from Brooklyn:

  • DeMarre Carroll, who arrived in Brooklyn during the offseason, explained how the Nets‘ approach impacted his feelings on the transactions, Lewis adds in the same piece. “We were devastated,” Carroll said of losing the two veterans. “They were like one of our brothers, both of them, SK, Sean Kilpatrick and Trevor. But they came to talk to us and try to make us see the bigger picture, see why they did the trade.”
  • Carroll added (in the same piece) that he feels the two former lottery picks will be able to understand the culture and fit right in. “I feel like that’ll be easy, because if you don’t fit in you’ll stick out like a sore thumb in this [culture],” the small forward said.
  • Okafor is motivated to prove himself after two-plus uninspiring seasons in Philadelphia, Zach Braziller of the New York Post passes along. “I have a chip on my shoulder,” Okafor said. “This is the first time where people are against me in a sense because I’ve always been the hyped-up guy. It’s something new for me to experience, so I’m glad that I am experiencing it.”

Atlantic Notes: VanVleet, Nets, Booker

The Raptors will have a welcomed dilemma on their hands when Delon Wright returns from a shoulder injury. Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes that initial third-string point guard Fred VanVleet has made a strong case for regular minutes.

VanVleet has become an integral part of the lineup the Raptors have been closing games with during their current five-game streak. The gritty, undrafted guard has been providing skills that Dwane Casey loves while shooting an impressive 8-17 from beyond the arc.

I think we have the opportunity with Delon, Fred, Norman Powell,” starting Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry said of the fluctuating lineups. “We’ve got guys who can play basketball and guys who are very talented and play extremely hard. You never know, whoever has it going is going to finish the game.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets opted to take a flyer on Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas this week but the aspect of the trade that they’re most excited for could very well be the second round pick, Zach Lowe of ESPN says (via Nets Daily). General manager Sean Marks has been busy the last few years, acquiring second-rounders to replenish those that his predecessor traded away.
  • The latest addition to the Sixers considers himself to be a bigger version of a current fan favorite. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype recently caught up with Trevor Booker and asked him what he thinks he’ll be able to contribute to his new team. “I’ll bring a lot of passion; I’m a passionate player. I’m a guy that’s going to be aggressive, provide energy and be a pest on defense. I’m pretty much a bigger T.J. McConnell.