Bock’s Score: Net Pain


Now we know exactly who is in charge of the NBA’s woebegone Brooklyn Nets.

Owner Joe Tsai? Nahh. That would be so old fashioned.

General Manager Sean Marks, who assembled this roster? Nope. He thought tearing down a decent team and replacing it with a trio of superstars would work and it didn’t.

Coach Steve Nash, who was charged with putting the right five guys out there, when they were available? Sorry, wrong guess.

No, the man in charge of this mess is Kevin Durant, who showed up with his pal, Kyrie Irving, to rescue the Nets from oblivion and too often found himself flying solo in this catastrophe of a team.

Disgusted by the situation, Durant demanded a trade on June 30. Marks tried to accommodate him but found no team willing to pay the price in players and compound it by inheriting the remainder of Durant’s four-year, $198 million extension signed one year ago.

OK, then, Durant decided and suggested an alternative in a meeting with Tsai. Keep the 12-time All-Star with the Nets. Just get rid of general manager Marks and coach Nash.

This is a remarkable idea since Duran and his part-time pal, Irving, came up with the idea to have Nash coach the team in the first place. Nash had zero coaching experience at the time and it showed now and then with a team that often displayed zero direction on the court.

Another factor was Irving’s anti-vaccine stance which limited him to 29 games. James Harden, who forced himself into a trade from Houston to Brooklyn a year earlier, was not amused by that part-time status and forced his way into another trade, moving to Philadelphia. It did not help things that Ben Simmons, obtained in the Harden trade, has yet to play a minute for the Nets because of back and mental health issues.

This left Durant often by himself – when he was healthy. Injuries limited him to 55 games. He never spoke out about Irving’s here-today, gone-tomorrow status though.

After electioneering for a long-term extension that the Nets refused to give him, Irving decided to accept the player’s option for a cool $37 million. Less than week later, Durant demanded a trade. That didn’t work out and now, he’s demanding the Nets trade Marks and Nash instead.

Tsai, in an effort to prove that ownership really does matter, expressed total support for the GM and coach. That’s important because it is Tsai, after all, who signs the checks and Durant and Irving who cash them.

Stay tuned and we’ll all find out how this soap opera ends.




About the Author

Hal Bock

Hal Bock is a contributor with NY Sports Day. He has covered sports for 40 years at The Associated Press including 30 World Series, 30 Super Bowls and 11 Olympics. He is the author of 14 books including most recently The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty and Banned Baseball's Blacklist of All-Stars and Also-Rans. He has written scores of magazine articles and served as Journalist In Residence at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus where he also served on the selection committee for the George Polk Awards.

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