NBA

Nets GM not expecting sweeping changes despite Harden links

By Sports Desk November 20, 2020

With a truncated NBA offseason charging ahead and the official start of free agency just hours away, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said he does not anticipate making any blockbuster moves - despite James Harden's reported interest in being traded from the Houston Rockets.

Marks is charged with building a championship-worthy supporting cast around superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who now appear healthy for the start of the NBA season on December 22.

"I sincerely mean it when I say I like this group that we have," Marks said. "The group has been together for a while now and we continue to add some pieces to it.

"Training camp is going to be competitive and it is going to be fun with the group we have, and if things change, things change."

The Nets have already made a three-team deal that brought in Landry Shamet and Bruce Brown, a trade that Marks said cements the organisation's "win-now" strategy.

While Marks understandably would not make any definitive comments about his plans for the roster, he seemed to make subtle references to the speculation involving Harden.

"I couldn't tell you if we're done yet or not," he told reporters. "But I don't see us changing five or six guys on the roster if that's what you mean."

While it is unknown what Brooklyn would be required to give up for a former MVP and three-time scoring champion like Harden, the likes of Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen have been mentioned frequently in rumours.

"It's the ugly part of the business, the strange part, the awkward part, and I think it needs to be discussed," Marks said. "I've talked to several guys about this, and just said, 'Look, they're just rumours'.

"Let's go out there and concentrate on what we have at hand, which is the group that's here. They understand this is a business and let's be prepared."

Another hurdle in any potential move to acquire Harden is that the Nets likely would be unable to retain sharpshooter Joe Harris, who scored a career-high 14.5 points per game last season.

"[Keeping Harris] is definitely a priority. We hope that we can continue to build with Joe," Marks said. "Joe is an intricate piece to the programme here, not only what he does and what everybody sees on the court but off the court as well.

"He's seen this programme develop and developed alongside this programme. It would certainly be great to have him continue this ride with us."

The price for acquiring the 31-year-old Harden would certainly be high, but Brooklyn have never had a player average 30.0 points per game across a season. Harden has done so on three occasions.

Durant has two such campaigns, too, with the pair accounting for seven of the previous 11 scoring titles - a prize never won by a Nets player.

A potential Durant-Irving-Harden trio is tantalising, yet it may ultimately be too short-sighted for Marks' taste.

"There is the other side of look: take advantage of what we have right now and take advantage of the moment. We obviously have a talented group that we can put on the floor as is," Marks said. "Until we know what deals are being offered or what we are offering, it would be difficult to say.

"We wouldn't want to mortgage our future, no."

Related items

  • Guardiola sees more Man City opportunities ahead for 'special guy' Stones Guardiola sees more Man City opportunities ahead for 'special guy' Stones

    Pep Guardiola praised "special guy" John Stones and said the defender was set for further opportunities with Manchester City.

    Stones started alongside Ruben Dias in the centre of defence as City booked their place in the Champions League last 16 with a 1-0 win over Olympiacos on Wednesday.

    The 26-year-old won all five of his duels and his three clearances were a team-high.

    While the defender has made four appearances in European competition, he has been limited to just one in the Premier League – against Wolves in September.

    But Guardiola expects Stones to get more chances for City after finding some form.

    "At the end I judge the players on what they do right now, in the present. John played with Ruben, they played well," the City manager told reporters.

    "I'm happy, especially, especially, especially, happy with John because he's a special guy for me. We arrived together here, we spend all the time together.

    "He was injured, had personal issues and now he's settled again, with his confidence and performance like last time he will have chances to show his quality in this team."

    Dias, meanwhile, has settled quickly at City after arriving from Benfica in September, making nine starts in all competitions.

    As City prepare to host Burnley on Saturday, Guardiola praised the defender's form.

    "Ruben is playing every week and every game because he doesn't make mistakes. He leads the line and does absolutely everything almost perfectly. That's why he plays," he said.

    "It doesn't depend on what he has done in the past and who you are in the past. We have to win in our position every three days. As a manager, when a guy plays good you have more chance [to play] of course.

    "There will be some players who are playing well but I will rotate the team so they don't get injured, they will be rotated. But with other issues when they are playing well they have more chance to continue on the pitch."

  • Pique wants Messi at Barcelona for years to come Pique wants Messi at Barcelona for years to come

    Gerard Pique hopes Barcelona can convince Lionel Messi to stay at the club for years to come.

    Messi, 33, sensationally requested to leave the LaLiga giants during the close season, but ended up staying at the club.

    However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is linked with the likes of Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter with his contract expiring at the end of the season.

    But Pique hopes Messi will remain at Barca, where he has spent his entire professional career.

    "We will have to ask Leo. It is his personal decision … and we will see what happens," the defender told Radio Marca on Friday.

    "I believe that as long as he continues to wear the Barca shirt there is always hope.

    "We hope they can seduce him so that he stays more years."

    Messi has struggled to live up to his usual form so far this season, scoring six goals in 11 games – including three in eight in LaLiga.

    He is without an assist in LaLiga, while he has created just 2.1 chances per 90 minutes – his lowest since 2012-13 (1.6). His 0.4 big chances created per 90 minutes is also the lowest since that campaign.

    It comes with Barcelona struggling in 13th in the table and awaiting a presidential election next year.

    Pique, who suffered a knee injury earlier this month, said he had previously thought about one day becoming the club's president.

    "If I see that I can contribute things that can help the club then I will decide," he said.

    "It is an illusion that I have always had, but I don't know if it will come true."

  • Klopp hopeful over Wijnaldum stay at Liverpool Klopp hopeful over Wijnaldum stay at Liverpool

    Jurgen Klopp hopes Georginio Wijnaldum extends his stay at Liverpool and the manager remains optimistic.

    Wijnaldum is out of contract with the Premier League champions at the end of the season and the midfielder has been linked with a move to Barcelona.

    Ahead of Saturday's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, Klopp had no update on the Netherlands international – but he would like the 30-year-old to remain at Anfield.

    "I cannot really say a lot about that. I would be happy if he would stay here – that's maybe the only thing," he said.

    "But sitting here, I'm pretty happy with Gini. You see when you look at most of the line-ups."

    Wijnaldum arrived at Liverpool from Newcastle United in 2016 and has helped the club win the Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.

    Since 2016-17, Wijnaldum has missed just 11 Premier League games for Liverpool. They have won five, drawn four and lost two, a win percentage of 45.5, compared to 70.7 in the 150 games he has played.

    They have also averaged more goals for (2.2 to 1.8), fewer goals against (0.9 to 1.3), more points per game (2.3 to 1.7) with Wijnaldum during that time.

    Asked if Wijnaldum was in his best form since joining Liverpool, Klopp praised the midfielder's consistency.

    "That might be only because your memories are not that good. He played always good. That's why he played that amount of games," he said.

    "I cannot remember a lot of bad games, to be honest. He played for us in plenty of positions, different positions. He's in a good moment, thank God. Long may it continue. That's it.

    "It's good and there's nothing else to say about it, to be honest. As long as nothing is decided, everything is possible and I'm positive."

    Liverpool are second in the Premier League table ahead of their trip to Brighton.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.