Sean Marks and Steve Nash finally graced the local press corps with their presence Wednesday to wrap up the Nets‘ dumpster fire season — 16 days after the Celtics swept them out of the playoffs.
The big headline: Marks threw a little chin music at Kyrie Irving. The general manager was non-committal when asked if the organization still has the mercurial star and self-proclaimed franchise co-manager in its plans after his cavalcade of nonsense over the last year. Marks also added the Nets need to talk with Irving about playing more when he is healthy and conceded the team’s overall culture could use some work.
“We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves,” Marks told reporters. “Play selfless, play team basketball and be available. And that goes not only for Kyrie, but for everybody here.”
That all sounds good. But let’s be real: No one should take this bluster seriously. Irving is untouchable as long as Kevin Durant wants him around.
The Nets have already allowed Irving to destroy one potential championship season. They showed no backbone in allowing him to be a part-time player when New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate was in effect, and they allowed him to push James Harden out of town. Why would Marks, Nash and owner Joe Tsai change course now?
Irving says he wants to be a Net. But if he declines his player option for next season, he will be an unrestricted free agent. The Nets would be able to offer him more than the rest of the league. So he will opt out, the Nets will huff and puff a bit and then they will offer him a max extension. Irving will take it and continue to do whatever he wants. Eventually Marks and Nash will get fired and the championship window will close, but all is well as long as Irving gets to do him. And he will, because the Nets will always allow it.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]