Sean Marks
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday afternoon’s press conference with general manager Sean Marks.

Matt Brooks

At long last, the Brooklyn Nets‘ silence was broken. Even with a couple of hiccups (more on this in a second), members of New York’s dedicated media force peppered the always-candid general manager Sean Marks with questions about his exciting Brooklyn Nets.

Marks was more than happy to provide thorough answers to the varying degree of topics. Tuesday afternoon’s proceedings moved fast — lightning-quick, even — and there’s a good chance you missed pertinent information relating to the 2019-20 Nets.

With that said, here is a summary of Marks’ big press conference, hitting on major points and key quotations.

Kyrie Irving suffered an injury during practice (it's nothing serious).

Hey, remember that little “hiccup” I mentioned earlier? Well, Kyrie Irving was on the wrong end of an elbow during training camp on Tuesday morning.

Obviously, this stinks for Kyrie, but what made this especially notable is that his head coach, Kenny Atkinson, chose to tag along with Kyrie on the way to the doctor.

All signs point to Irving being perfectly fine, but it was certainly interesting to see Atkinson miss the press conference to spend time with his new star player.

The Nets are a player-first organization. For Kyrie, a player who may have felt like an outcast in his previous destination (Boston) and possibly overshadowed by a celebrated head coach (Brad Stevens), it must be enchanting to see such strong commitment from his new head coach. Building a strong relationship with the unique star point guard will be one of the many important sticking points for the Nets this season. Supporting him through a minor injury scare is a sign that Atkinson is willing to do that and then some.

So you want KD updates? Sean Marks is giving you some dang KD updates.

After a week of speculation and sparring between media figures, Sean Marks dropped a massive bomb on the excited fans awaiting official news about Kevin Durant’s return.

Marks noted that Durant will ultimately have the final say on his return, but the general manager expects to be without the superstar for the season. In Marks’ words, ” this is a long-term plan here.”

This, obviously, countered most of the guesswork done about Durant’s comeback from his June 13 Achilles’ rupture. Although the news may be disappointing for some, Marks did the right thing here. Allowing Durant to enter this season without a cloud of pressure is the best move going forward. Had he not shut these rumors down, Durant could have been under constant fire about assisting his team during their playoff push; psychologically and physically, the downside of a forced return is immeasurable.

It’s worth noting, Durant’s rehabilitation is reportedly going “very well.” Marks also added that “we look forward to having his presence around in the gym.” As a 12-year vet, Durant will assuredly come equipt with ample lessons for the plethora of young players (still) on this roster. Not to mention, his knowledge of the game could greatly aid Kenny Atkinson from the bench. Marks alluded to this, stating that Durant (and Kyrie Irving, for that matter) might see situations where they call the shots during ATO (after time-out) scenarios.

So yes, for now, Durant will be sidelined this season. However, as Marks noted, it appears KD will be one of the primary figures who dictates the date of his return.

Oh, and all that Golden State noise? Durant didn’t want to talk about it. According to Marks, the Nets didn’t want to either. Both sides are focused on a new, exciting future.

The Brooklyn Nets' chemistry is still alive and well.

This was a big one from a selfish standpoint. One of the many things that made last year’s Nets so damn special was their unbreakable chemistry. Those guys flat out loved each other. Well, according to Marks, three weeks before training camp even began, the 2019-20 Brooklyn Nets were hard at work.

“The last three weeks, guys have come in, been around the performance team, been around the coaching staff. Getting (adjusted) to Brooklyn. (Figuring out) housing situations.”

Marks made sure to highlight one specific Net in particular and commend his dedication:

“Kyrie has been [in the gym] religiously.”

Ooh. Me likey!

Sean Marks touched on a variety of Nets players at different moments during the press conference.

I’m going to blast through these in a bullet-pointed list, if that’s okay. There’s a lot to unpack.

  • On Caris LeVert‘s recent extension: “He has always competed at every level. A very unselfish player. The tenacity at which he plays at. He’s certainly a guy that leads by example.” Marks then went on to joke about how that tenacity can sometimes work against LeVert. Because of his insatiable competitive edge, LeVert is regularly the first player to dive to the floor for loose balls. For a general manager always awaiting the next injury scare, this has to feel pretty jarring to play spectator to. Marks did, however, say he’d rather a guy be too aggressive than vice-versa. You can’t teach heart!
  • On Joe Harris‘ FIBA experience: “(We’re) extremely proud that Joe is a Net.” Given that the FIBA tournament ran so close to the start of training camp, the team will be monitoring his workload. There was no specific mention of load management, so rest assured my Joe Harris stans.
  • Marks said multiple players could take the leap for the Nets this season, including newcomer Taurean Prince. According to Marks, the combo forward has been impressive during workouts.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie was another player brought up as a candidate to exhibit unseen potential. Marks spoke glowingly about Dinwiddie’s commitment to his craft, going as far to say he’s “always first” in the gym. The Nets are certainly blessed to boast a starting-caliber point guard off their bench. Depending upon Irving’s load management schedule, we could be looking at multiple starts this season for the University of Colorado alum. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: 19/6 isn’t out of the question for our guy Spence.
  • Jarrett Allen‘s name was brought up in passing. Marks mentioned that the 6-foot-11 center has been “religious” with his commitment to the gym. Given that The Fro is one of the many X-Factors for Brooklyn this season, his immediate growth could be a delicious ingredient to a deep playoff run.
  • Lastly, DeAndre Jordan: “He’s extremely vocal. A defensive mindset. Really anchoring your defense back there. Where can his game go to? How can he help develop our young guys?… We’re expecting big things from DJ this year.” One of the many questions about next year’s Nets pertains to their defense. The losses of Ed Davis and Jared Dudley will certainly be felt. Given that both players quarterbacked the defense, calling out switches and leading the pack during opponent transitions, it’s nice to see that Marks feels he has a suitable replacement. There’s a chance Jordan serves a greater role than any of us originally expected.

Marks offered an interesting response to a question about Rodions Kurucs.

Look, to be frank with you, I’ve had zero interest in discussing Rodions Kurucs‘ ongoing allegations. None. Cero. Nada.

Why, you may ask? Well, reader, in my humble opinion, there’s no “correct” response to such horrid accusations. It’s impossible to be on the “right side of history” with this one. Which is why I don’t envy our good friend Sean Marks for attempting to offer insight on the situation.

Yet, as always, Marks handled this like a class act. First, Marks noted the severity of the claims and mentioned how the front office planned to let the courts handle the due process. Which, sure, smart. That seems like the right course of action.

Where it really got fascinating was how much Marks stood behind his player — not so much in support of his actions — but more to say that Marks was happy to lend a shoulder to cry on. Said Marks, “You’re part of our family. We’re here to support you.” From a bystander’s perspective, I was shocked and impressed by Marks’ maturity.

He mentioned adding a 16th player was a possibility, but not a priority.

Because of Wilson Chandler’s suspension, the Brooklyn Nets have the option to sign a 16th player to the 15-man roster during the 25-game duration of punishment. That option to bring a player aboard starts as early as Nov. 1 (the beginning of Chandler’s suspension). For weeks now, many free agent names have been thrown around (well, actually, it’s really only been one. Hi, Melo, how are ya?).

Marks mentioned that on top of investigating the idea of the mythical 16th player, the Nets are still looking to fill their two-way slots and Exhibit 10 deals (which are basically non-guaranteed camp deals). As it stands, Brooklyn still has the ability to deal out one two-way contract and two Exhibit 10 deals.

At the end of all of this, Marks assured reporters “it’s not necessary” to fill those spots — even the coveted 16th player.

Sean Marks shut down the New York Knicks rivalry.

“We’ve never been focused on winning over New York.”

I mean, come on. How can you not love this guy?

Marks instead turned his focus to the process, and not the product. He goes on, adding “We’re gonna compete and we expect the ultimate goal. Whether that comes whenever… Part of the fun is the journey along the way.”

To conclude all of this, I would like to share my favorite quotation of the afternoon. It’s one that I think will define the next half-a-decade for the franchise that goes hard in Brooklyn. The Nets have gone through more changes during the last year than most teams will encounter in 20. Even so, Marks and co. are still committed to their player-first values. I’ll let Sean Marks himself handle the rest:

Culture’s always evolving.

That it is, my friends. That it is.

An NBA fanatic who specializes in the advanced analytics of the game. I cover the Brooklyn Nets here in the city. Follow me on Twitter for semi-witty basketball tweets. @MattBrooksNBA