BROOKLYN — A day after the Nets were swept out of the playoffs for the second consecutive year, general manager Sean Marks sat at the podium at HSS Training Center trying to convey the franchise’s next move. Marks spoke about “patience and poise” but didn’t rule out adding a star if they were the right fit.
Marks is in store for another busy offseason with decisions to be made about the current nucleus in Brooklyn and whether it will remain going forward. Mikal Bridges cemented himself as one of the core pieces going forward, but the Nets were clearly lacking players around him at times which became clear in the postseason.
The Nets general manager addressed reporters as the team’s biggest rival, the Knicks prepared to play a Game 4 across the river. Marks said that part of the organization’s strategy would b strategic, but “that doesn’t mean we won’t make changes to the roster.”
Marks wasn’t prepared to say whether the Nets would be a team contending for an NBA title next season.
“I think we need to let the dust settle a little bit,” Marks said. “Again we’ve always been prepared. I got to give my group a lot of credit they’ve always been prepared to debate and discuss everything so that when things do come across the table you’re not surprised by it. I think in this day and age we’ve all seen players demand trades, players behind the scenes ask for this, teams change — whether it’s ownership groups or front offices and next thing you know they pivot.
“So we just have to be ready for whatever comes our way. And if we can make a change that we can compete, we’ll be strategic about it. Because I don’t think we want to put ourselves in a place where we’re costing the future for right now either.”
The Nets could go a multitude of ways this offseason as the organization tries to move forward after a chaotic season that saw an end to the superstar era in Kings County. Marks has decide what players to keep among the group that was assembled in the retooling after the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving trades, and what pieces make sense to add.
The Nets will have a handful of free agents to deal with, chief among them being Cam Johnson, who has shined since arriving in Brooklyn and helped spearhead the offense in the playoffs. He put up a noteworthy 18.5 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 50.9% from the field and 42.9% from three-point range.
The postseason performance grabbed many people’s attention around the league, including the Houston Rockets. A number of teams are expected to be interested in Johnson, including Houston, according to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto.
Johnson said on Sunday that he hadn’t given too much thought to the free agency process yet, having been focused on the Nets’ playoff run. He indicated that he had discussed the past season with people inside the organization and what the future could look like in Brooklyn, noting the “very high-quality people.”
“I will do whatever I determine and my family and representatives determine is best for my future,” Johnson said. “Whether that’s being here or somewhere else I can’t fully say. All I can say is that I’ve really come to appreciate the people here and that means a tremendous amount to me.”
Among the factors that are impacting on Johnson’s decision is the fact that Bridges is under contract in Brooklyn. Marks expressed a desire to see Johnson back in Brooklyn next season.
“We hope he’s back,” Marks said. “Tremendous person, on and off the court. High, high character. His IQ is off the charts. That’s exciting to be around. He adds a lot to our group, not just on the court. … Hopefully he’s here, but he’s gonna have decisions to make, so at the right time, we will certainly be having those discussions with him and his agent, and we hope that Cam will be back. He’s a big priority for us. There’s no question.”