Sports

Is Brooklyn just an apprenticeship for Sean Marks before he returns to Texas?

Sean Marks’ elevation to Brooklyn Nets GM was seen by most New Zealanders as a deeply unfortunate promotion. But when Andrew Mulligan interviewed him he caught a hint that it’s part of a bigger plan…

From the outside the decision to take the job offered by the Brooklyn Nets seems like really bad idea for Sean Marks – a point The Spinoff’s own Hayden Donnell made at length yesterday. Joe Johnson is the wrong side of 30, his legs are as old as petrified kauris and move laterally just as quickly and his contract is the wrong side of $24m a season.

Behind him there’s a roster full of ‘what the hell?!?’ and chortling from years of crappy deals and silly trading of picks. Why on earth would Sean Marks want to deal with the NBA’s most broken down franchise?

Two things – four people – actually:

  1.  Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford

  2.  Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore

In a bit of a scoop, one we really wanted but didn’t think was possible, on Radio Sport (humblebrag alert) Sean Marks agreed to take our call (confirming what a good bugger he is) a mere hour after the announcement, and three hours before the trade deadline passed on Friday morning.

Giddy with adrenaline and coffee I asked ‘why the on earth would you leave the Spurs for the Nets?’ or something hot-takey to that effect. He replied “when the Spurs came to me with this…”

Is Sean Marks only holidaying in Brooklyn? (Image: Getty)

Is Sean Marks only holidaying in Brooklyn? (Image: Getty)

Huh? The Spurs actually came to him with the idea of leaving? Now, most people would probably think “they’re trying to offload a guy they think has no future”. But as Hayden pointed out in his column, Marks is well liked and respected around the league. The Spurs don’t just let people go.

I think what’s really happening is that he’s being sent down into the real world – released from the front office utopia of the San Antonio Spurs where they never put a foot wrong – and told to go and experience the complete opposite. To cut his teeth in the real world, where things are chaotic and rosters often suck and you have to live without your picks for years on end. To learn the hard way how to be a proper GM.

It would be like Mike Hosking having to do Nights on The Edge. With no songs. And no producers. He’s getting his chance to make the Nets his own, hire a coach he likes (and is probably a Gregg Popovic disciple) and re-organise them into a solid team. And get them under the luxury tax. Even a Russian oligarch can respect saving tens of millions of dollars.

Here’s where the Ghost* reference comes into it. I couldn’t but help picture Marks, shirtless with his Demi Moore of a coach being spooned by him moulding a lump of clay (the Nets are more like faeces but that’s just too gross an analogy) and turning the team into some cool Corso de Fiori type range of exotic dinnerware.

This is all with the Spurs blessing. He isn’t there to necessarily turn Brooklyn into champions, but  to cut his teeth in the GM world. Learn the craft of reshaping a mess of a roster. So that when the time is right and Buford retires and Popovich is done flambéing quarter time interviewers and going deep into the playoffs, it will be Marks who picks up the reins and continues the success.

That’s the theory anyway. And you have to admit that it’s a much better scenario than the more popular take – that his first NBA GM job is such a poisoned chalice that it’s also destined to be his last.

* As an aside, Whoopi Goldberg would be better and cheaper in Joe Johnson’s roster spot too.

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