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Nets GM Sean Marks Fires Back at Hot Seat Rumors After Jacque Vaughn Dismissal

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Sean Marks sets the record straight on his job with the Nets…

Stability and continuity have not been defining characteristics of the Brooklyn Nets during Sean Marks‘ time as general manager. After firing Jacque Vaughn on Monday, Marks is expected to hire his fourth head coach this offseason, a rarity for any GM in today’s NBA climate, especially one with one playoff series win in eight seasons.

The dismissal of another coach amid a 21-33 start to the season has raised the question: Is the Nets GM finally on the hot seat? Marks responded to widespread speculation surrounding his job security Tuesday.

“Joe [Tsai] and I have always been in complete partnership,” he said. “Joe and I will make the decision [of hiring the next head coach] and he has given me no reason to believe that I won’t be able to make that decision. We’ll take a lot of factors into account as we make this. We’ve got time, we’re not gonna be in a rush, there’s gonna be a robust search, and by the end of this I have no doubt that we’ll find the best person fit for this job.”

Sean Marks’ work with Nets

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks speaks during a press conference
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Marks drew rave reviews for revitalizing what many called one of the worst situations in NBA history upon taking over as Nets GM in 2016. He moved on from veterans such as Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanović in return for draft picks that became Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen. He also traded Brook Lopez for D’Angelo Russell and signed Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris from the G League.

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The scrappy core eventually attracted Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who later recruited James Harden. However, injuries to Harden and Irving derailed a 2021 playoff run during which Brooklyn was viewed as the unanimous title favorite.

With Irving refusing to comply with New York’s workplace COVID-19 vaccine mandate the following season, Harden forced a trade to Philadelphia at the deadline. Durant and Irving followed him out the door one year later, leaving the Nets with no All-Stars and Marks under the public microscope.

“It’s pro sports. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the world we live in,” the GM said of Brooklyn’s roster turnover. “I couldn’t have predicted the last five or six years like none of us in this room could have predicted the ups and downs, the ebbs and flows that not only we’ve gone through.

“I could make every excuse, but my job isn’t to come up here and say, ‘Well, we all had to go through this, that, or the other, and the [lack of] continuity from injury, and so forth.’ So we’re going to move on from that and focus on these guys right now. We’ve shown the ability to put this franchise at the top of the map, and that’s the plan to do it again. We want this to be a destination where not only free agents want to come, but where we can develop our own guys. We’ve done that in the past, we want to do it again.”

After a 13-10 start to the season, the Nets have lost 23 of their last 31 games, dropping them to 11th in the Eastern Conference. For a team hoping to attract stars to pair with Mikal Bridges in coming years, the extended cold stretch was enough for Marks to make an abrupt, midseason coaching change.

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Interim head coach Kevin Ollie will take on the task of rehabilitating Brooklyn’s image during the second half of the year.

“You hope you don’t have to make these decisions,” Marks said of firing Vaughn. “But at the end of the day, we’re in a results-driven business. I looked back and said, well, this isn’t where this team needs to be, and this is not the direction we need to be heading in. And so that’s when you have to make these tough decisions. With 28 games to go and 55 days before the playoffs start, it’s time for us to get some movement from this group. The expectation for Kevin as the new head coach is to come in and get that movement.

“We have to show [stars] there’s a pathway to win here. I think there’s a very clear pathway from draft assets, cap room, and everything else we’ve got… And I think this city speaks for itself. It’s been very clear that people have wanted to come here and play in the past. It’s not as if my phone wasn’t ringing the last 48 hours with people wanting to come here. It will certainly be a robust [coaching] search, and at the end of the day, I have no doubt we’ll find the right person to lead this franchise in the future.”


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