Sean Marks' new job: The pros and cons of being Nets GM

By Niall Anderson

Sean Marks with  Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs. Photo / AP
Sean Marks with Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs. Photo / AP

Sean Marks this morning accepted the offer to become General Manager of the Brooklyn Nets.

The decision was in no way an easy one, as Marks proved by requiring an increased contract offer and hours of late night negotiations to come to the conclusion.

Here are the pros and cons of Marks' decision to become the man in charge in Brooklyn.

Pro: Financial backing

Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has shown he has no problems with spending big in order to win. Since he took over the team in 2010, the Nets have splashed big money in order to be successful - at one point assembling a team which was well over the salary cap, and accrued a record $90 million dollar luxury tax bill, on top of almost $100 million in salary payments.

Prokhorov has also helped build great facilities, and even proved his willingness to spend by giving Marks a significantly increased offer when he was balking at the idea at joining the Nets.

If Marks needs a few extra dollars to lock in a player, or wants to dip into the owner's pocket to sign a top-class coach, he'll have the funding to do so.

Listen: Sean Marks talks to the Crowd Goes Wild Breakfast

Con: Talent deprived roster

The Nets hold a 14-40 record this season, and don't have many assets on their roster. Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young are solid, middle-aged pieces on decent contracts, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has potential to be an elite defensive presence on the wing.

While the Nets are not the worst team in the league, the teams worse than them have plenty of solid young prospects. Not so the Nets, who have the bleakest long-term outlook and prospects in the league, if not all of American sports.

Con: Draft pick purgatory

Because of ill-advised transactions to get Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn, the Nets don't even have high draft picks to look forward to.

The Celtics are set to steal all of Brooklyn's draft picks until 2019 - owning the Nets' first-round pick in 2016 and 2018, and the right to swap picks in 2017 - which means Brooklyn would almost certainly have to send Boston their valuable pick in exchange for a lesser one.

The Nets don't even have many second-round picks to use; meaning the NBA's main route to improvement - the draft - is not a fruitful option for Marks.

Here are all the draft picks the Nets currently have to use in the next five years:

2016 second round pick (via the Los Angeles Clippers)
2017 first round pick (via the Boston Celtics)
2017 second round pick (via the Boston Celtics)
2019 first round pick
2020 first round pick

The lack of picks also means the Nets aren't incentivised to be bad, like many teams are, so Marks will likely have to try field a somewhat competitive unit, using free agency and trades. It will be tough.

Pro: Potential job security

Marks has a four year deal, which means little in the hectic NBA world where coach and GM firings are as prevalent as ever.

However, there should be plenty of patience for the 12-year NBA player, as the Nets should have no delusions of grandeur about their immediate future. A long-term rebuild is on the way in Brooklyn, and Marks will likely have at least several seasons of job security as he tries to move the franchise in the right direction.

Also, even former Nets GM Billy King managed to keep his job for a while after making an array of bad moves. (Giving away the pick that became Damian Lillard for a washed-up Gerald Wallace, to name just one).

The turmoil the Nets are in could prove to be helpful to Marks' short-term job security.

Con: An unstable owner

Remember our man from above - the free-spending owner, Mikhail Prokhorov? Well, he comes with a bit of baggage as well.

The Russian has a reputation in league circles as being an unstable owner, whether it is through hasty decision-making or poorly-timed comments in the media.

For example, Prokhorov said yesterday that he didn't know who Sean Marks was - that he had "never heard his name". That was at the time when Marks was considering passing on the offer, and came after he had spent multiple hours in a meeting with him.

While Prokhorov was surely joking, it was a sign of his slightly unhinged nature which can come to the forefront at inopportune times.

Pro: Gets to pick his own coach

From all reports, Marks is set to get a big say in hiring the next Brooklyn head coach. Interim coach Tony Brown is currently in charge of the Nets after the firing of Lionel Hollins, meaning there is a search on to find the next long-term coaching option in Brooklyn.

Having a say in hiring the head coach creates greater fluency between coach, GM and owner, leading to a decreased likelihood of in-house feuding. Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina could be the man for the job - a qualified and familiar face for Marks to safely begin his tenure.

Pro: A rare opportunity

There are only 30 NBA GM roles available, and while Marks could have been in line for perhaps a more attractive role if he waited a few more years, it is hard to turn down a rare opportunity, as he said so himself:

"I look at it as a great opportunity. There are very few of these jobs so to have the opportunity to step in and help lead a franchise is a lifelong dream."

It's hard to see a massive downside for Marks. If he fails with the Nets, the Spurs trust him, and would likely take him back into their basketball family.

If he gets fired unfairly due to a rash Prokhorov decision, he'd have a list of suitors waiting.

If he gets granted extended time on the job, Marks can be the guy who helped turn around the worst situation in the NBA, and be held in high standing around the league.

- NZ Herald

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