Behind the Scenes of the Nets’ Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving Heist - Wed 10 Jul 08:45 GMT

The brightest lights in basketball’s biggest city belong to Brooklyn, which reinvented its culture and image with the additions of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. All that new shine, however, does not come without risk.

  Sean Marks has a swanky office, neatly tucked into a corner of the eighth floor of the Nets practice facility, a soaring waterfront warehouse in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood.

  Marks, the Nets’ affable, 43-year-old GM, a Kiwi journeyman who squeezed 11 NBA seasons and one title out of his playing career before retiring to front office gigs, just doesn’t like it much.

  The Nets were about to bottom out, winning 20 games in Marks’s first full season—and they didn’t even have a lottery pick to show for it, since the Celtics controlled their first-round picks through 2018.

  Today, the Nets have the two players the Knicks fawned over and unquestioned status as the No. 1 team in the city.

  In 2017, Marks made a deal with the Lakers and absorbed center Timofey Mozgov’s cumbersome contract to acquire guard D’Angelo Russell, an immature former No. 2 pick who would become the Nets’ first All-Star since 2014.

  “It was the most thorough training staff I’ve ever been a part of,” says Jared Dudley, who spent last season with the Nets, his sixth NBA team.

  With Durant still under contract with Golden State, the Nets, Marks says, “did not have all the facts.”