Nets get their man in GM Sean Marks
Prokhorov Reportedly Ups Ante to Snag Coveted Spurs Executive
Money talks, and you know what walks.
The Brooklyn Nets officially named San Antonio Spurs executive Sean Marks as their new general manager Thursday morning, just hours ahead of the NBA’s trade deadline.
The length and financial structuring of the deal has not been released, but Marks figures to be one of the most handsomely paid first-year GMs in NBA history.
“After an exhaustive vetting process, we are delighted to have Sean as our general manager,” Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said just one day after pretending not to know the 40-year-old New Zealander’s name when reports began circulating that Marks had turned down the Russian billionaire’s initial bid for his services.
According to an ESPN report, Prokhorov upped his offer Wednesday night in an attempt to land the coveted team builder, who served as assistant GM with the Spurs the past two seasons after working as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich and acting as GM for San Antonio’s Developmental League affiliate in Austin the previous three years.
Marks, who spent 12 years as a player in the NBA, earning a championship with San Antonio’s 2005 squad, also picked up a ring as an assistant with the 2014 title winners.
“His experience on the court, in coaching and management gives him a 360 degree view of the job at hand,” Prokhorov said of Marks in a team-issued statement.
“His background helping to build one of the greatest teams in the NBA gives him an unparalleled frame of reference. And he impressed us all with his vision, his values, his personality and his enthusiasm for the club.”
Marks was apparently so impressive that Prokhorov lured him back into the fold with extra dollars, something the Nets’ leader has shown a penchant for doling out during the franchise’s three-plus seasons in our fair borough.
“The vote to select him from an incredible list of talent was unanimous,” Prokhorov noted. “We welcome Sean into our Nets family and look forward to his strong leadership and independent thinking as we build our own success story.”
That story is still under construction, unlike the Nets’ sparkling new practice facility in Sunset Park’s Industry City, which officially opened Wednesday afternoon.
Brooklyn does not have control of its first-round draft pick again until 2019 due to the series of trades former GM Billy King orchestrated to get the team into playoff contention upon its arrival in our fair borough.
Also, at 14-40, the Nets own the third-worst record in the NBA and own few, if any, significant pieces they can move to bolster the squad for the remainder of this season.
Despite the gloomy outlook for the franchise’s immediate future, Marks expressed great enthusiasm as he embarks on attacking the task at hand, which will include hiring what will be the sixth head coach during the Brooklyn era.
“I am very excited to be named the general manager of the Brooklyn Nets, and to become a member of the vibrant and dynamic organization that represents Brooklyn,” Marks said.
“I would like to thank Nets’ ownership for giving me this opportunity, and I look forward to the challenge of creating a unified culture and building a winning team.”
A graduate of Cal-Berkeley, where he was a four-year letter-winner and senior captain with a degree in political science, Marks was selected by the New York Knicks with the 44th pick in the second round of the 1998 NBA Draft.
He suited up for six different franchises during his playing career, including the Toronto Raptors (1998-00), Miami Heat (2001-03), Spurs (2004-06), Phoenix Suns (2006-08), New Orleans Hornets (2008-10) and Portland Trail Blazers (2010-11).
Marks also played for the New Zealand national team, participating in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games and the 2002 FIBA World Championship.
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In other local sports news, the Brooklyn Cyclones announced this week that Tom Gamboa will be back for his third season as manager of the Mets’ Class A Short-Season affiliate in Coney Island.
Gamboa has put together a 75-77 record during his first two years with the Cyclones, and has helped develop young players getting their first taste of pro baseball action, including current Mets outfielder Michael Conforto, who starred on Brooklyn’s 2014 team before catching on with the parent club last summer.
The 68-year-old baseball sage joins former Cyclones skipper Rich Donnelly as the only manager to guide the Baby Bums for three consecutive summers on Surf Avenue.
This will be Gamboa’s 43rd season in Major League-affiliated pro baseball, including big league stints as a coach with the Chicago Cubs and the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals.
Joining Gamboa on the 2016 Cyclones’ staff will be returning bench coach and Mets fan favorite Edgardo Alfonzo, pitching coach Billy Bryk Jr., hitting instructor Sean Ratliff, athletic trainer Gavin Groush and strength coach Joe Lego.
The Cyclones will kick off their 16th season in our fair borough on Friday, June 17 against rival Staten Island.
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