NEW YORK — Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have “conviction” about the direction of the team in the wake of the trade to land James Harden and are prepared to make the necessary on-court sacrifices.
Marks said he consulted the franchise’s stars as the Nets began to move swiftly toward a trade for Harden on Wednesday
“[I was] getting their thoughts and really wanting to hear what their commitment was going to be, what their conviction was,” Marks said in a news conference on Thursday. “I enjoyed hearing that conviction, and we’ve got some time to see how it translates on the court.”
Harden, who is scheduled to arrive in New York on Thursday, will be eligible to play once he and all the other players involved in the multi-team deal have undergone a physical examination. Once Harden is cleared, the focus turns to how the Nets’ new “Big Three” will gel on the court and how their supersized personalities will mesh off of it. Marks said that he didn’t have to broach the subject of touches and making it work on the floor with Harden, Durant and Irving — instead, they brought it up to him.
“At the end of the day, that’s what we need to hear,” Marks said. “And that’s the level of sacrifice and these guys know it. And each one of these guys is capable of you know, leading a team, being the star player on a team and so forth. And, you know, there will be nights when each one has that opportunity. Maybe two or three have that opportunity on any night.”
With games being crammed in every other night most weeks — and Brooklyn trying to balance practice, rest and film sessions — Marks said that the actual games, in many ways, will have to serve as their practice. Marks added that he is banking on Harden’s previous connections with his Brooklyn teammates to expedite the process. Durant and Harden played together in Oklahoma City and Harden also played with Jeff Green with both the Thunder and the Rockets.
While Harden’s tenure in Houston came to a bumpy end — with him publicly declaring the Rockets “just aren’t good enough” and “it’s something I don’t think can be fixed” — Marks said that the six-time All-Star reassured him that, “I want to win. I am all about winning.”
Marks said that he feels Durant, Irving and Harden have given him “the right answers” to the locker room and basketball puzzles they could face.
“They’ve said, ‘Hey, we want to play together,'” Marks said. “I let them have their own voice — but I think they understand that there’s without a doubt going to be some nights where one or two need to sacrifice for the other and so forth. I think they’re all looking for a common goal. We’re all looking for that common goal.”
That goal is to win a championship — and soon. As part of the Harden deal, Brooklyn will not control any draft picks for the next seven years. Some compare this to 2013 when Brooklyn mortgaged their future in draft picks for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. However, the Nets at the time did not have a Durant type player on their roster.
“We’re not bankrupt right now,” Marks said. “There’s still multiple ways to build and we will continue to build with or without the picks we may or may not have now.”
He added: “We also need to capitalize on the window and what’s in front of us right now.”