Sean Marks played in the NBA for 11 seasons, most notably for the San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, and Phoenix Suns. He was the first ever New Zealand native to play in the NBA. Upon retirement in 2011, Marks was hired as director of basketball operations for the Spurs. He also acted as the general manager of their D-League affiliate Austin Toros. The 40-year-old quickly moved up the ranks in San Antonio, eventually becoming an assistant coach in 2013. He would help lead them to their championship win in 2014. Now Marks is faced with his toughest challenge yet, rebuilding the Brooklyn Nets.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the deal is reportedly for four years. He also reported that the Nets increased their offer to attract Marks. After his hiring, Marks had this to say:
"I look forward to the challenge of creating a unified culture and building a winning team."
Mikhail Prokhorov also expressed his gratitude for having Marks as the GM, he was quoted as saying:
"We welcome Sean into our Nets family and look forward to his strong leadership and independent thinking as we build our own success story."
Sealing The Deal
Marks, one of the lesser experienced of the bunch, beat out several opponents for the vacant GM spot. Bryan Colangelo, Arturas Karnisovas, Danny Ferry, and Gersson Rosas were all in preliminary talks of filling the role. Interestingly enough, after the Nets offered Marks the job it seemed that he was leaning towards not accepting the position. The chances seemed even lower when Prokhorov spoke at the opening of the Nets new training facility. When asked about Sean Marks, he was quoted as saying: "I've never heard this name before."
Clearly something changed during the night and the Nets finally snagged their GM. Marks versatile roles as a former NBA player, FIBA player, director of basketball operations, D-League general manager, assistant GM, and assistant coach may have helped him seal the deal.
Head Coach Messina?
One of the many positives that Marks brings with him is the strong connection between him and the Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina. The Nets are still without a head coach, but it would seem reasonable that Marks would like to have a friend and fellow co-worker in Brooklyn. Additionally, Messina was head coach of the CSKA Moscow team that was owned by Prokhorov, current owner of the Nets. Connections clearly run deep with the Italian coach.
Messina had previously coached extensively in Italy, winning four Euroleague championships. The 56-year-old joined the Spurs as an assistant coach in 2014. Both men boast strong connections in Europe, a vital tool for the Nets. With a lack of picks, the Nets will need to look for hidden Euro talent and these two could certainly help in that regard. A duo of Marks and Messina could help vastly improve the depleted Nets roster.
One Door Closes, Another Opens
While, the Billy King "era" may have ended when he was re-assigned back in January, the hiring of Marks truly ushers in a new look for the Nets. Brooklyn fans can only wish that gone are the days of lopsided trades and ridiculously high-priced signings to "win-now". It's rebuild time in Brooklyn, and it won't be easy. But this might just be a step in the right direction. Welcome to a new era of Brooklyn basketball.