Shams Charnia: New Orleans has agreed on deal with Brooklyn assistant general manager Trajan Langdon to make him the new GM working alongside David Griffin, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium .
Fred Katz: The Wizards, for those interested, never hit up Langdon for their open job, which I always found interesting considering the search firm consultant they’re using is the same one New Orleans did.
The developmental culture replacement Sean Marks instilled has seen the Nets make the playoffs and made it easier for co-owners on different timelines to stay on the same page. “The thing that brings everything together is — credit to Mikhail — their organization brought in Sean Marks, and Sean Marks brought in Kenny Atkinson. Those are incredibly far-sighted decisions,” Tsai said. “They learned from their experience first coming into the Nets how hard it is to build a good team.”
While Marks vowed to be active and aggressive in his messages to Nets fans, he was asked earlier in the day if he felt pressure to get a star? “I think that’s the challenge,” Marks replied. “I’m not sure there’s pressure to act frivolously or out of the norm. I think this is something that if the right player is available, obviously like any other team, we’ll target those guys. We’ll see how this builds out. It’s not about fast forwarding or skipping steps. There are a lot of people that played major roles in getting the team to where it is now, the team, the organization, the identity to where it is having us even have these conversations. That’s exciting.”
Brian Lewis: Dudley re: #Nets edge: "You can live in the city, live in Brooklyn, the practice facility is right here. It’s a Top 3 best practice facility. So yes, the word is out. People know about it. People know how good Kenny & Sean Marks are and what they’ve done to develop this culture."
“What Brooklyn has done without lottery picks has exposed teams like the Knicks, Lakers, Suns and Kings, who have consistently been in the lottery but failed to make the playoffs,” former Nets executive Bobby Marks said. “If I’m an owner, I’m asking, ‘Why can’t we replicate what the Nets are doing?’” “The definition of sport is to compete,” one executive for an Eastern Conference team texted. “Thus, Brooklyn’s approach is the ONLY way to approach a rebuild. The 76ers are a historical franchise that was gutted for future picks. Some may argue the approach was creative or out of the box thinking. However, the actual pick selections were not accurate when it comes to talent evaluation bypassing players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kristaps Porzingis.”
This season marked back-to-back seasons of 50 or more wins for the 76ers for the first time since 1985 and 1986. Now the expectations have heightened, according to McConnell. “We have expectations where if we lose in the first or second round it’s looked at as a disappointment,” he said prior to Game 4. “Isn’t that the greatest thing about the NBA?” Atkinson said of the differing rebuilding methods. “They did it one way, and we kind of did it the other. They’ve had great success and great players. We just did it a different way. That’s the beauty of the NBA. There’s a lot of different ways to skin a cat. We took our particular situation and took another approach, and here we are playing against each other. It’s great.”
Other top candidates include Brooklyn's Sean Marks, whose roster upgrades without the use of high draft picks got the team back in the playoffs; Houston's Daryl Morey, last season's winner who retrofit his roster on the fly during this season; and Denver's Tim Connelly, whose team moved from outside the playoffs to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
Long Island Nets General Manager Trajan Langdon has been named the 2018-19 NBA G League Basketball Executive of the Year, as selected by his fellow NBA G League basketball executives. In his third season as general manager of the Brooklyn Nets’ NBA G League affiliate, Langdon oversaw a team that tied for the NBA G League’s best record (34-16), secured the No. 1 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference and earned the franchise’s first postseason berth.
The fact that they’ve found a way to stay in lock-step, and not let their disparate timelines disrupt the organization — or Nets GM Sean Marks’ carefully crafted plans — is noteworthy. Marks claims the key is communication, presumably not the easiest thing with two billionaires — one based in Moscow and the other in Hong Kong. “That’s probably one of the greatest things about [them], and a credit to Mikhail and Joe. I haven’t noticed a differing of opinions. Both collaborate,” Marks told The Post. “I collaborate with them a lot. There’s no surprises. Just like within my group. I don’t like to hear surprises, they don’t like to hear surprises either.
With the clock ticking on Prokhorov’s majority ownership, there could have been temptation for him to prod Marks to cut corners, like Billy King’s Boston deal. Or conversely for Tsai — still the executive vice chairman of the Alibaba Group — to balk at paying the luxury tax or any big free agent (such as Kawhi Leonard, Kristaps Porzingis) that would cost him dearly years before his majority ownership. But so far that hasn’t happened, both billionaires working in accord. “The ultimate goal for everybody is to win the whole thing,” Marks said. “So however you get there and whenever you get there, and whatever route you take, they’ve got to understand “Hey, this is in the cards.” If you look at what Mikhail’s done in the past, he’s not afraid to step up.
After that, Marks knows things will be fluid as the Nets approach the summer with a significant amount of cap space and several players who will be restricted or unrestricted free agents. The Nets are in the process of a significant leap from the 20 wins from Marks and Atkinson's first season. The next step will be determined by the moves that are made after the close of the season. "The players have decisions to make, we have decisions to make," said Marks. "So, it’s going to be an interesting three months, but I give our players a heck of a lot of credit for how they’ve handled over half of the season. It’s really been led by them. They took the reins of this thing and they’ve been pushing and believing. I think you guys have commented on the camaraderie they’ve shown on the bench. It’s been terrific. Again, it’s contagious. When guys have a belief – and it hasn’t come from Kenny or I or anybody else having to sit down with them and say this is the trajectory of the team – it’s been led by the players."
"We're headed in the right direction," said Marks. "I'll copy Kenny (Atkinson) here where he says, 'we've got a long way to go. We're still grinding. We haven't achieved anything yet.' And I think that's the mentality we're all going to continue to have. Our players have that, the staff has that. Our guys have a chip on their shoulders. I think people enjoy maybe proving people wrong. I like the trajectory. Obviously we all do. But I think we're humble and we realize that these things change pretty quickly and we've got to stay focused and driven."
Spencer Dinwiddie, who just signed a $34 million extension, is also having a career year as is Joe Harris, who is sixth in the league in 3-point shooting. Allen has been one of the league's best centers on defense. And this rebound is coming without arguably the team's best player, Caris LeVert, who is recovering from a frightening foot injury a month ago. Suddenly they're two games out of sixth in the East and sources report they are hinting in talks with teams they could be a buyer at the trade deadline. That's not something that has been heard in years.
What will the Brooklyn Nets look like in 2019-20? I’m starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel but is it just going to a short spurt of sunlight like years past? Or have we learned our lessons? Sam Amick: @Joseph M. I love what I consistently hear about the Sean Marks front office and the Atkinson approach on the bench, and those are two enormous components to have going in the right direction. They're in a great market with a high level of player interest, in a new building, so they'll get there.
Dinwiddie will become eligible for a contract extension Dec. 8, three years after he signed his current deal. But unlike Russell – who could theoretically sign an extension for a max salary – Dinwiddie’s extension is capped at about $47 million over four years. Though it’s possible he could draw more in unrestricted free agency next summer, Dinwiddie – who has only once and only barely exceeded a minimum salary in his career – sounds open to locking in sooner. Not that he expects an offer. “If Sean Marks calls to give me a contract extension, I’ll take it,” Dinwiddie said. “But until he does, I’m looking forward to being a free agent.”
Khalid Green, who became a Nets scout a decade ago after coaching high school ball in Brooklyn, went on a podcast Friday and argued that “intrinsic bias” remains a big part of talent evaluation in the NBA and agreed that some decisions are tinged by “white supremacy.” Speaking on “Bill Rhoden on Sports,” Green added that the talent level among “Caucasian” basketball players in the United States has “dropped” and that certain whites in NBA franchises are “almost feasting on Europe as their savior,” describing Europe as the whites’ “motherland.” Green did not suggest any bias on the part of the current Nets front office, but talked about instances earlier in his career.
Green’s most controversial comments came when discussing what he and Rhoden called NBA teams’ “Great White Hope” mentality. “Here in America, the Caucasian that plays the game. it’s dropped, Their talent level has dropped,” Green told Rhoden. “So they’re almost feasting on Europe now as their savior. They have to go back to their motherland for their savior.” He cited a meeting he had as a scout prior to the 2011 NBA Draft when apparently discussing Jimmer Fredette, the Brigham Young star from Glens Falls, New York. “I never got caught up in that hype,” he said of Fredette, who was taken at No. 10. “I had a conversation,” Green started. “One of the scouts at the time said, ‘Well, If he was a black guy you would like him.’ This was in a meeting! I was kind of new at the time and I was like ‘No, I wouldn’t have liked him ... He’s still slow. He’s not going to be able to get his shot off and he wasn’t athletic.’ And I knew what it was. I know It was a Great White Hope type operation.” “That’s where the intrinsic bias comes in,” he continued. “Because a lot of times people want that guy to succeed to make a statement on behalf of the whole race.”
A team representative tells NetsDaily that Green “has not been part of the team’s scouting department” for the better part of a year and is not employed by the team. He may still have a role in community relations, the rep admitted. On the podcast, hosted by former New York Times sports writer Bill Rhoden, both Rhoden and Green identify Green as a “national scout” for the Nets and Green’s LinkedIn account also identifies him as currently a “talent scout” for the team. The Nets do not normally provide scouts or even assistant coaches for media interviews.
However, he does suggest that Luka Doncic, drafted this June, is part of the same “Great White Hope” mentality, arguing that the 6’8” Slovenian guard does not possess either “athleticism” or “craftiness.” Green admitted that part of the disagreement about Doncic and other Europeans may simply be a difference among teams’ domestic and international scouting staffs. “It’s definitely like that in the NBA. And I’ve heard it from other NBA franchises where there are sometimes a split between European scouts and the scouts here in America and guys are intrinsically pushing for their guys and that’s a reality,” he added.
Although Atkinson said tanking might be something “upper, upper management” probably discusses, it’s not something he and Sean Marks talk about. “We’ve never talked about tanking, Sean and I,’’ Atkinson said. “I’m just going to be honest: Internally, we don’t use the word. We don’t talk about it. “We talk about internal improvement, we talk about player development, we talk about culture. Tanking is not a word we use. It’s just not in our [vocabulary]. I don’t think the fans in New York want to see that.
Nets Daily: An overlooked quote from Sean Marks conference call with season ticket holders Wednesday was about how "eye popping" HSS can be when people first see it. Marks said ownership has pumped millions into the facility since it opened two years ago, It cost $52 million to build.
With the Brooklyn Nets signing Ed Davis and acquiring Kenneth Faried in a trade, and with Sean Marks giving the impression Tuesday that they’re closing in on their final 2018-19 roster, the short-lived Jahlil Okafor era in Brooklyn looks dead. “I won’t comment on Jahlil, because he’s not here right now,” Marks said bluntly. “But again, I will always bet on our coaching staff. Our coaching staff have done a heck of a job, our performance team, in terms of how they develop guys.” Marks then noted the need for a “floor spacer,” which Okafor is not. Hours later, of course, the Nets signed Treveon Graham, who is a floor space and despite his size, can play the 4.
With the Nets finally holding their own pick for the first time since 2013, many fans are wondering if they could — or even should — tank the upcoming season. General manager Sean Marks has insisted they won’t — both for the sake of building a winning culture today, and for luring free agents tomorrow. “That’s certainly one aspect of it. We want to show we’re competing on a nightly basis. Kenny [Atkinson] and his staff are well aware of the expectations, myself included,” Marks said. “But at the end of the day, we’re not going to try and skip any steps in order to maybe fast-forward the wins and losses and then take away our flexibility in the future.”
The recent free-agent addition of Shabazz Napier backs up Marks’ consistent assertion the Nets won’t tank like the 76ers. The past two seasons were ruined by point-guard injuries, and the Nets just gave the Connecticut product a two-year, $3.5 million deal to shore up that Achilles’ heel. “We never use that phrase [tanking],” Marks told The Post. “We’re trying to compete, and trying to go out there and show that ‘Look, we are making strides in the right direction.’ [Napier is] a guy that can do that. If we lose another PG and we’re short a PG, that all takes a back step, right?”
Sean Marks also couldn’t answer specific questions regarding the Dwight Howard trade and proposed buyout, but intimated the Nets will be active come July 1 when free agency opens. “As always, everyone has a lot of things on their plate or on the table, whether they act on them or not,” Marks said when asked if he wanted to preserve assets, not jeopardize another potential deal in the coming days. "And for us, there are some things out there, whether it’s pending. 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.”
As for Musa, Marks had high praise for him but admitted there is work to be done. ”Everyone’s talked about the offensive skill set that he has,” Marks said. “He’s been playing at a very, very high level in Europe for a long time, and his story is pretty intriguing, where a young kid leaves home at 11 years old by himself, and next thing you know he’s grinded his way and made a name for himself over there.“
Atkinson also gave an assessment of their second-round pick, Rodions Kurucs. ”Kurucs is almost like a Mike Dunleavy type,” Atkinson added. ”He’s a perimeter player that can shoot it. He can put it on the floor a little bit. He can definitely play some four, but also slide to the 3 too.”
Specifically, Marks talked to ESPN 101.3 in Boston Monday about how the Nets did have a long-term plan in place that included a bid for Kevin Durant! He also offers a less-than- veiled criticism of Mikhail Prokhorov for not wanting to pay “substantial” luxury taxes after the 2013-14 season. Marks laid out the Nets thinking as they worked on the deal, noting Brooklyn was in a “win-now” mode and Boston wasn’t. It was Marks, then assistant GM to Billy King, and Mike Zarren, Danny Ainge’s No. 2, who handled the nuts and bolts of the deal. “I thought that when we did the deal, I thought we would have a championship level team in 13-14, would be a playoff team in 14-15 and then, when the cap spike came in 2016, we’d in a good position to get a Kevin Durant or one of these marquee free agents just based on past success and we were all wrong,” offered Marks. “We misjudged the trade big time.”
“I didn’t think we’d have a one-year window to try to win a championship,” Marks told “The Huddle.” “And I guess when you don’t want to pay the luxury tax substantially, that can alter your plans as to what your roster is. If you change the course of direction as to how you do business, this is probably what the results were. We all paid the price dearly.” And Marks, like Dmitry Razumov, Prokhorov’s No. 2, said he wishes the Nets hadn’t agreed to swap picks in 2017. “I’ve said all along that my biggest regret is the pick swap that got Boston Jayson Tatum because I don’t think that had to be included in the deal and eventually, it was,” he added without explanation.
Marc Berman: Nets announce Pablo Prigioni to coaching staff. Spent a week with them this season. Knicks had interest but have no head coach to pull trigger.
Anthony Puccio: Along with Prigioni, the Nets will add Tiago Splitter to the position of pro scout, with added duties related to player on-court development. #Nets
Nets Daily: So Trajan Langdon will be watching Luka Doncic tomorrow. Don't get excited. Nets scout all the top players no matter where they are projected. Why? Because they want as complete a record if a year or two down the line, a top pick gets offered in a trade.
That 2014-15 season was actually Kenny Atkinson’s third year as an assistant in Atlanta, having been hired by Larry Drew a year before Budenholzer took over. But with Atkinson having just completed his second year as the head coach in Brooklyn – the second full season for a fully revamped basketball operations staff under GM Sean Marks – the year two effect is clearly in evidence. “When I look back and I look at the job Kenny has done, I say look at our players that have improved over the course of the last two years,” said Marks. “If you want to call some of them diamonds in the rough or so forth, but I don’t think we can argue with what Kenny and the staff have done in terms of developing talent.”
76ers coach Brett Brown, who went 75-253 (.229) in the four previous seasons combined, understands what Kenny Atkinson is going through as the coach of a team in the midst of a long-term rebuilding phase. “What I see is that he’s [Kenny Atkinson] really good at what they’re doing,” Brown said. “We went overboard with development, we went overboard with relationships, tried to hold the locker room together. Make them feel they had worth and help them. You blink, and five years later we’re in a pretty good spot. We’ve got a young foundation and we like the direction we’re pointing. From afar looking across the fence at this team – and Sean Marks is a very close friend of mine – they get Jeremy [Lin] healthy and the style of play, I can see they’re heading in the right direction. We’ve got respect for them.”
At the beginning of the 2016-17 season, Sean Marks made what looks to be the best move of his tenure so far when he signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie out of the D-League. “Spencer Dinwiddie could be the most improved player in the league,” a Southwest Division executive said. “I think Oladipo will win the award, but Dinwiddie basically got cut by two teams, went to the D-League and turned into a legitimate starter. I think that’s a credit to their player development and their culture.”
Now, almost exactly two years since current GM Sean Marks was given the league’s version of “Mission Impossible,” Brooklyn’s rebuilding process is further along than anticipated, albeit still a long way from finished. “Under the circumstances, Marks has been good,” a Northwest Division executive told The Athletic. “The cupboard was empty there.” A fellow Central Division executive concurred. “They play hard every night, have a style they are committed to playing, and there is more hope than despair there now.”
Spencer Dinwiddie, who spoke to Roberts about a number of issues, including the Nets inability to get calls late, said he noticed the Nets commitment as soon as he arrived 13 months ago. “Honestly, my very first impression of Brooklyn was the culture of development. I thought they were very invested in the guys they chose to be a part of that.”
Mark Bartlestein, Carroll’s agent, is confident Nets general manager Sean Marks and Atkinson aren’t looking to move his client. “I’m sure there’s a lot of teams interested in DeMarre,” Bartlestein said. “He affects the game in a lot of different ways, and a lot of people would love to have him. But I know Sean Marks and Kenny value him big-time. I know for sure they’re not trying to trade him. There’s always conversations around the league and anything can happen, but I know the Brooklyn Nets put a great value on DeMarre . . . I want to make sure people realize that.”
“The biggest thing that Infor has done for us is making us more efficient,” says Marks as the video cuts to a shot of Trevor Booker looking at an iPad showing a replay of game action. “Our players when they're using their app and they're seeing their performance stats, their game stats, how those things marry, we're educating them. Infor has done a really nice job there.” Phillips, CEO of Infor, said of “engaging” with the Nets, “Data science is invading every industry and we thought this was a cool opportunity to help a local team ... trying to make them a better team.”
Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment announced Thursday that they will be moving corporate offices, including the Nets business operations, to Industry City next year. They will lease —and renovate— the floor directly below the HSS Training Center.. Business operations have been headquartered at Metro Tech, Bruce Ratner’s office complex in the borough. The lease at Metro Tech was up ... and consolidating office space has been an organization goal since the Nets chose the Industry City site on 39th Street just off Upper New York Bay.
There’s no official sale book bouncing around yet when it comes to the Brooklyn Nets, but already the investment bank Allen & Co. has received several expressions of interest, The Post has learned. The basketball team owned by billionaire Russian Mikhail Prokhorov hoped to fetch around $2 billion, but we hear one interested party has been trying to box out others in the sale process.
A source told On the Money that Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai has expressed an interest in the team, though reps for his family office, Blue Pool, deny it. Reports suggest the Nets want to find a Chinese backer — not surprising given the success of Yao Ming with the Houston Rockets, which are also for sale.
As the league descended upon Toronto for All-Star Weekend in February 2016, the Nets were leaning toward hiring Bryan Colangelo over Marks, according to sources familiar with the process. During All-Star Saturday night, Razumov and R.C. Buford, then Marks' boss as the Spurs' GM, had a long talk in the chairman's suite inside the Air Canada Centre, according to several sources. Buford's message was clear: The Spurs might not grant Marks permission to take the job unless he would get to do it his way. Several other executives, including Bob Myers, the Warriors' GM, also praised Marks in chats with Razumov that weekend, sources say.
In addition to the two years and $30 million remaining on Carroll’s contract, the Nets are also swallowing the remaining $48 million over three years on Timofey Mozgov’s contract, and $20 million over three years on Andrew Nicholson’s deal (a low-key salary dump in the Bojan Bogdanovic trade). For their troubles, the Nets landed the no. 2 pick in the 2015 draft, D’Angelo Russell, the no. 22 pick in the 2017 draft, Jarrett Allen, and a first-rounder (lotto protected) and second-rounder in 2018. The Nets are harvesting youth, and aren’t afraid to pay to continue accumulating assets.
Either way, the door may not be completely shut on Caldwell-Pope. Position won’t be an issue if price isn’t. “We’re still at that stage where you’d hate to say ‘we’re only going to look at this’ or ‘we’re only going to look at that position’,’’ Marks said. “For us, who knows what’s going to come our way? We’ve got to stay pretty fluid in who we’re looking at and explore all our different options.”
Atkinson said Saturday adding a veteran at a position of need was a distinct possibility. “Sure, I think it’s possible,” Atkinson said. “We’ve got to see how things play out with everything, but I do think [Marks and I] both agree that we don’t want to go in with a totally young roster. We do need that veteran support. If it’s the right position where somebody can help us, it’s definitely something [to consider].”
Building slowly for a new arena wasn’t an option — and it dictated most of the moves by King — but not protecting draft picks and agreeing to unnecessary pick swaps also burned Brooklyn. That part was on the GM. “Billy’s literally like an addicted gambler when he’s close to doing those trades,” said an opposing executive. “He’ll do anything when it reaches a certain point.
King’s worst deal was for Wallace in 2012, a panic move meant to help convince Williams to re-sign in free agency that summer. The pick given in exchange to the Blazers turned into Dame Lillard, a point guard who is immensely better than Williams today.
But the deal with Boston was different. It was backed by logic — albeit flawed in retrospect — and lauded at the time as pushing the Nets into real contention. King had even gone around the room that evening asking about the proposal. There wasn’t much, if any, dissension. According to a report on Netsdaily.com, Milton Lee, the GM of the franchise’s D-League affiliate, represented the lone vocal opposition. “Looking back, my one regret — and I know Billy gets a lot of arrows for the swap rights for this year — was that I shouldn’t have done the swap, or that I should’ve put some type of protection on the swap there looking back on everything,” Marks said. “It wasn’t just Billy. This was a group decision here. This was the group in the room.”
The Nets have inquired, too, and that could be interesting because of the Nets’ ability to absorb salary. Brooklyn stands to have about $40 million in cap space next summer, and without much to offer big-time free agents, leveraging that space to accumulate picks with bad contracts would make sense for the Nets, who will see the No. 1 pick swapped to Boston this year, and have next year’s pick sent to the Celtics, too.
Brian Lewis: But a source told me as of yet, the #Hawks haven’t contacted the #Nets for permission to talk to Langdon.
From the Nets side, the interest in Unicaja’s players is just the latest indication of how intense Brooklyn’s scouting regimen has become. Miranda speculates who might interest the Nets that they’ve come all this way twice. Miranda’s first choice is Viny Okouo, a (barely) 20-year-old seven-footer from Brazzaville in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ... and Serge Ibaka’s cousin. Miranda notes that Okouo has declared for the draft and although he was expected to withdraw, maybe he won’t. The Unicaja center has at 20 just begun his career as an elite player. The normal thing is that he withdraws his name from the Draft this season, as he still has two campaigns left before he arrives at his natural year of selection. But the Nets already know him firsthand and he is a player who, because of its physical characteristics, is very interesting for the NBA.
Marks was asked by Sarah Kustok what position he thought he needed to “fortify” in the off-season, the Nets GM identified the small forward, but noted as well “We need to look at everyone.” “I think we know the 3 position for us is certainly one that needs to addressed. I look at it too that we have some free agents of our own who we need to know what’s going to happen with them there first. “Again, where we are in our life cycle its not where we can say, 'we're only missing this.' To be honest, we need to look at everybody. We're looking at the best players available. That's coming through the draft, that's coming through free agency.”
Irina Pavlova, a top adviser to Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and one of the highest-ranking women in professional sports, is leaving the organization next month, sources told The Vertical. Pavlova, whose official title is president of Onexim Sports and Entertainment, has served as a U.S.-based liaison for the Nets’ Russian-based ownership group since 2010.
In her role, Pavlova was looped in on all Nets-related activities, from business to basketball operations. She dealt with the NBA on significant issues and was heavily involved in the selection of the team’s new practice facility in Brooklyn. Pavlova serves on the board of directors for the Nets and Brooklyn Arena LLC, the company that runs the Barclays Center.
Bobby Marks: Strong gesture by Nets management honoring the commitment to Cliff Alexander and Prince Ibeh. Nets had committee to both players for a 10-day contract this season but injuries derailed the signing. The Nets commitment to both is similar to what Golden State did with Jose Calderon and his agent Mark Bartelstein back in early March.
Nets Daily: Also front office and coaching staff have a combined 60 years overseas playing experience. That's not by accident
Sean Marks made Langdon his first hire, which speaks volumes about his potential as an executive and his eye for talent. Former players bring a specialized set of skills and experiences to the executive suites, where the job isn't only talent evaluation but talent management. Be it college divas, journeymen or international products, Langdon has shared locker rooms with them all. League insiders say Langdon needs a few seasons in Brooklyn during what promises to be a painstaking rebuild, but will eventually receive some serious looks from owners intrigued by a managerial prospect with a playing career and some Spurs shine.
But that’s all water under three bridges — Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg — and what Atkinson and Sean Marks, the new general manager who hired him, can only move on from, beginning with what we might call the pre-process. “Whether it works or not, I don’t know, but we’re on the same page,” Atkinson said of his boss. “We have the same vision on how we can get out of it. My big fear was whether the average fan was going to understand that. But, you know, there haven’t been many boos, and the fact that there has been some compassion and understanding makes me think that we don’t give the fans enough credit for what they know.”
Appearing on Boomer and Carton Friday, Woj said players and their agents are recognizing what’s going on with the Nets and compared it with the Knicks. “I talk to players around the league, agents, people. They like what's in Brooklyn to send their guys to in the future. The coaching, the organization, everything around it. The Knicks still don't have that. And it gets back to this: Whether Donnie Walsh is GM, who did a tremendous job, or whether it's Phil Jackson, it will always be James Dolan's culture there.”
Elisa Padilla, the Nets chief marketing officer and the woman who helped transform the New Jersey Nets to the Brooklyn Nets, writes in The Advocate Thursday that she is gay and proud of it. “I am standing up, raising my hand, and joining the conversation. I am using my voice not only to demand change but to advocate for LGBTQ respect and inclusion,” she writes in the national LGBTQ magazine. “I am taking action to show anyone who has struggled with their identity that they can achieve their dreams in any profession, in any industry, under any circumstance.”
Padilla, who has been instrumental in pushing a number of fan initiatives, including the Brooklyn Brigade, notes that while she is married to a woman she has been with for decades, she is only now coming out to the world. “Twenty-five years into my career and after seven years with the Nets, my share-no-details personal mantra has remained the same. To this day, most of my colleagues don’t know that I’m gay, let alone married to a woman who has been my partner in life for 28 years. Until now.”
In fact, she is the lead on the Nets first “Pride Night,” January 25, where the Nets will celebrate LGBTQ inclusion and diversity in general, welcoming back Jason Collins, the two-time Net who in 2013 became the first openly gay athlete in any of the four major pro sports. “The first team to sign Collins after he came out was the Brooklyn Nets. I was so proud coming to work that day,” she noted. “He is a true role model, and I am honored to stand with him.”
A 7-footer who can pass and defend, he could have neatly rounded out the lineup next to Lopez, and let them mix and match with four scorers on the floor. Forced to give Justin Hamilton and Luis Scola more than 800 minutes combined despite their struggles, the Nets would have benefited greatly from Motiejunas. Now, with almost $17.8 million in cap room, there is a sense both in the building and throughout the league they will be willing to make moves at the deadline. “Will we be active? I think we’ll be strategic,’’ Marks said. “We’re not just going to jump on something.”
Ohm Youngmisuk: Mikhail Prokhorov reiterated he will remain majority owner of the Nets and said he is actively searching for a minority ownership partner to "strengthen" the team's presence in New York. "I'm passionate about owning the Nets and our emerging sports and entertainment businesses, and will continue to look at growth opportunities," Prokhorov said in a statement. "... I'm proud of the steps we've taken this year, including the opening of the world-class HSS Training Center and developing a new culture with GM Sean Marks and Head Coach Kenny Atkinson. I'm committed to the Nets and will remain the majority owner of the team."
According to a Nets insider, the Russian oligarch would like to sell up to 49 percent of the Nets, but NOT the other assets held by Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment: Barclays Center, Nassau Coliseum, and the Brooklyn Paramount Theater. There’s no indication that Prokhorov has set any deadline for a sale or who might be interested.
Scott Soshnick: BREAKING: @BrooklynNets hire Allen & Co.'s Steve Greenberg to find local minority investor #sportsbiz #NBA
Scola also likes what Sean Marks is doing in the Nets rebuild. "Even if we have a draft pick, i believe Sean and coach and everyone in the front office, they just want to build the right atmosphere for working and for winning," he said. "Doing it the right way, I kind of like that about this team."
Marks was hired away from the San Antonio Spurs. He wanted his own team, but he fully understands resuscitating the Nets, expected to be a lottery team, is an arduous task. “It’s fun, at the same time all-consuming,” said Marks, who played 230 NBA games over 12 years. “But to be able to see things very, very slowly coming together and getting the players to buy in and the collaboration between the performance team, coaching team, front office — that’s been good to see.”
Marks fully realizes that the Nets are likely a few years from competing. The team needs premium free agents. It needs its younger players to flourish. It needs Atkinson to implement a winning culture. “There’s a ton of people who would have loved this opportunity,” Marks said. “I’m fortunate enough to have it. I love the market that it’s in. I love the opportunity and the challenge. There’s no doubt it’s a huge challenge and I think everybody that has joined with me — we’re a partnership here. We want to see it turn around in Brooklyn. We’re going to push each other.”
So, King didn't know I was going to be there, but he certainly recognized me and to his credit, didn't seem to hold back. Since we weren't told it was off-the-record, we, my seatmate and I, assumed it was on. We've written about this before but haven't shared the notes. So in the interest of full disclosure on this issue, here they are: King says Dmitry Razumov is fully engaged, that they talk, text, email all the time and that at the trade deadline, there was constant communication between the two of them and among him, Razumov and Prokhorov. Razumov came to New York for more than a week.
He said Razumov and Prokhorov are much more knowledgeable about NBA players than they were when they took over five years ago. Razumov will text him about specific players. He texted about JaVale McGee and when Billy told him no interest, he responded that he figured as much. Billy added that Razumov will often play with the ESPN Trade Machine and call with suggestions. He said Razumov recently asked about getting a young player on the Rockets, that he appeared to be just what were looking for. Billy said he agreed with the assessment that the player fit well, but that Houston wouldn't trade him.
We were also told, by multiple sources, that King refused to go along with a trade proposal in 2015-16 that would have brought Lance Stephenson to the Nets, along with others, and sent Joe Johnson to the Hornets. Razumov liked the idea. King, not a big fan of Stephenson, did not. There was no dispute, no argument, we were told. It was another case of ownership making a suggestion and management citing reasons why it wouldn't work.
The Brooklyn Nets have named Gianluca Pascucci as director of global scouting and BJ Johnson as coordinator of player evaluation. “We are thrilled to add Gianluca and BJ to our front office,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “Collectively, they bring valuable experiences that cross many platforms and their extensive knowledge of both the NBA and the global game will be tremendous assets to our scouting department. Both will be excellent additions to our culture and we are excited about welcoming them to Brooklyn.”
Culture gets thrown around a lot in sports, but what does it really mean? What does it mean for the Nets? “Everyone in here together working towards the goal,” Lopez said. “No more being late, be on time in the training room getting your treatment, getting your weights in; be on the court at the same time. It’s a much more togetherness, much more camaraderie. We hold each other accountable and we have high expectations of each other.”
The 7-foot, 28-year-old center calls the training staff “an international work force” with “guys taking what they’ve learned all around the world, bringing it together in this eclectic fashion so we really have the best of the best. “It’s hard,” Lopez said. “We’re together and we’re doing it. Before, we’d have guys coming in, wouldn’t really get their treatment [or] their mobilization. And they weren’t necessarily on time. It’s the way it should be now.”
The Brooklyn Nets have announced Head Coach Kenny Atkinson’s coaching staff, naming Jacque Vaughn, Chris Fleming and Bret Brielmaier assistant coaches, Adam Harrington assistant coach and director of player development, Jordan Ott assistant coach and manager of advance scouting and Mike Batiste player development assistant. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not released.
After the season ended, Thaddeus Young and others said the Nets had dealt with a habitual tardiness issue and Marks acknowledged it. “There was a little bit of responsibility that was potentially lacking,” said Marks, who came from the Spurs. “I told the guys in San Antonio — or anywhere for that matter to be successful — if you obviously have that disrespect and disregard for your teammates that you’re not building camaraderie, not building trust. “It’s the players that monitor that themselves. It’s Tim [Duncan], Tony [Parker], Manu [Ginobili], Kawhi [Leonard]. If you’re going to show up 15, 20 minutes later — or even not 30 minutes early — you’re telling Tim Duncan, ‘Hey look, my time is more valuable than yours.’”
So far, it appears that Marks is following through on that promise. A NetsDaily survey shows that the team has added 17 new staff and dropped 11 from Billy King's setup. Moreover, Marks has organized things, as one might expect. The biggest change is on the coaching side of the building. The Nets went through last season --at least up through Lionel Hollins firing and Paul Westphal's departure-- with six assistants, one short of what the team had under Jason Kidd. It now appears the Nets will have a staff similar in size to Kidd's.
In his first interview since being dumped as Nets GM in January, Billy King tells two NBA beat writers he thinks he could have turned things around if he had been permitted to stay on, but says he does not "begrudge" ownership for wanting a "different voice" in shaping the team. Still, he admits to "bitter fieelings" King also seems to side with those who criticized the Nets for not interviewing any candidates of color for his old job, noting that the trend now is to hire executives from the "Spurs tree," an apparent reference to the Nets decision to hire Sean Marks and Trajan Langdon.
Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News and Vincent Goodwill of the Comcast Sports Net in Chicago devoted most of the interview, conducted last week, to a discussion of how to increase African-Americans in NBA front offices, but at the end of the 40-minute discussion asked King about his departure from the Nets, billed at the time as a "reassignment." Asked how he's spending his time, King talked about how he's looking forward to his next job. "I looked back at things that we done. You know you write up a plan," said the 50-year-old King. "After I get back, here's how I want to set up my staff and here's how I want to do things differently. and you just network and stay in the mix."
On the subject of African-Americans in NBA front offices, King echoed criticism of the Nets leveled by a number of writers and others --including Goodwill-- that none of the eight finalists for King's job were African American. (Seven were white, one Hispanic.) "Some of the younger assistant GMs don't get the interviews," King argued. "that's what is more troubling, not the fact that they didn't get hired but some of the guys like Scott Perry (Vice President/Assistant General Manager.of the Magic) have not got the interview and to me that's whats more troubling."
August 3, 2021 | 10:12 am EDT Update
Sources say the Warriors have hope with free-agent guard Patty Mills, the long-time Spurs reserve. He figures to be one of those difference-making fits. At 32, with a championship ring, 90 career playoff games and noteworthy international experience, Mills checks the veteran box. The Warriors could use his shot-making and offensive creation.
If Jazz forward Joe Ingles is indeed available for trade, sources say the Warriors do have interest — just no good way to get him. Ingles, approaching 34, fits the Warriors’ need for a veteran and another offensive playmaker. His passing would fit perfectly with the Warriors. He can run point forward and spot up off the ball, making him viable with the starters and the second unit. He’s got 45 playoff games under his belt. He shot a career-best 45.1 percent from 3 on a career-high 6.1 attempts per game — his third season at 44 percent or above. He’s also reputed for being a great guy and would add to the culture of the locker room.
The most viable option to get Ingles is to see where Oubre Jr. signs and try to convert it into a sign-and-trade. In that scenario, the Warriors would get a traded player exception in exchange for Oubre and they could use that exception to get Ingles, if he is available. But that’s adding $13 million (plus the repeater tax) to what is already the league’s highest payroll. Ingles is good, but is he good enough for Lacob to stomach the added cost? The Warriors could keep the TPE for potential use later, but the same question would come up.
Marc Stein: The Timberwolves officially announce the completion of their trade of Ricky Rubio to CLEVELAND for Taurean Prince, cash and a 2022 second-round pick.
Semi Ojeleye’s four-year tenure with the Boston Celtics came to an end on Monday evening. Adrian Wojarnowski of ESPN.com was first to report that Ojeleye has agreed to a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks. A league source tells MassLive the deal is expected to be for the veteran’s minimum.
Keith Smith: Team USA will play Australia in the Olympics Semifinals. Thursday 8/5 at 12:15 AM ET. Gonna be another late night!