General manager Sean Marks said at the annual post-season press conference that the organization had a “long, long way to go.”
The Nets have become one of the NBA’s surprising stories for the 2018-19 campaign, with a favorable outlook on the horizon. So much so that Brooklyn has been linked to several marquee free agents, including Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant, the respective crown jewels of the upcoming summer.
“I’m not sure there’s pressure to act frivolously or just out of the norm,” Marks said of going after a star in free agency. “If the right player is available, obviously like any other team we’ll target those guys, but we’ll just see how this thing builds out. Again, it’s not fast forwarding.”
Marks has continued to say that Brooklyn “will not skip steps” in their rebuild, which will enter season four beginning this coming fall.
And of course, he can’t mention players by name without tampering, but did suggest that the club still plans to operate in a way that won’t handcuff the team for years to come, as they did with their infamous 2013 trade with the Boston Celtics.
“I think from day one here, it’s always been about maintaining flexibility,” Marks said. “There’s a lot of different directions we can go. But again, we’ve got time to try and establish it and make good, sound judgment decisions.”
The Nets also have their own set of free agency concerns heading into the summer, led by veterans Jared Dudley, Ed Davis and DeMarre Carroll, along with all-star D’Angelo Russell, who will be a restricted free agent in July.
All voiced their desire to remain in Brooklyn, with Davis – a first-round pick from 2009 – acknowledging that it’s nearly impossible.
“I’ve never been on a team where you brought back the same group,” he said frankly last week. “So that’s not going down.”
“I think they know how we appreciate them, how we care for them, how we want to develop them,” Marks said of his own free agents. “This is something that’s happened for 18 months or two years or however long these guys are here. I think D’Angelo knows how we feel about him.”
Russell could make nine-figures over four years if an offer comes from another NBA team, which will likely happen as a restricted free agent. The Nets will have the option to match any offer, which would keep the blossoming 23-year-old in Brooklyn.