NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New Nets general manager Sean Marks won’t be able to hire Gregg Popovich as coach, but he admitted he’s looking for someone who reminds him of the Spurs great.
Marks told WFAN’s Evan Roberts on Thursday he has a short list of coaching candidates he’s hoping to meet with. When asked what he’s looking for in a coach, Marks, a former Spurs player, assistant coach and executive, quickly invoked Popovich.
“I want to go in with an open mind,” Marks said. “I obviously have a short list already, and there’s going to be some attributes that I’m looking for, obviously coming from and having the opportunity to sit with Pop on the bench for a year, communicating is a huge, huge part of this for me, and looking at somebody who can communicate on many different levels, who can be relevant with his players, with his staff, with the media, you name it. And I don’t know if there’s anybody else better than Pop. It’s my job to try and find some who can try and do that.”
Roberts joked that Marks could try to steal Popovich, who has won five NBA championships, from the Spurs. Marks said in jest that he already had offered him the job.
Roberts also asked Marks about whether former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was on his short list. The Bulls reached the playoffs all five seasons Thibodeau served as coach before he was fired after last season.
“I don’t want to get into names, but obviously Tom is a great coach out there, and he’s going to have plenty of options,” Marks said.
“My task is to find the people that are going to implement that culture … (so that) the players, not only in Brooklyn but around the league, will say, ‘Hey, look, I want to go play there. I want to be part of that. There’s something special going on,'” Marks said.
Marks was hired Feb. 18, the same day as the NBA’s trade deadline. Not surprisingly, the Nets did not strike any deals.
When asked if he might have made some moves had he been hired a week or so earlier, Marks said: “I think anybody who had taken over the job would have had a better understanding of maybe some of the needs and so forth (if hired earlier). Again, my goal here is not to come in and make clean sweeping moves in the first 24 hours.”
He said he’s beginning to closely evaluate the team. Since Marks’ arrival, the Nets have bought out the contract of center Andrea Bargnani and are reportedly in talks to do the same with Joe Johnson.
Marks sounded open to parting ways with Johnson earlier Thursday.
“We’ll be talking to Joe and seeing what he really wants to do and what he wants to accomplish,” he said. “At this point in his career, he’s obviously done so much … for Brooklyn, for the franchise, being a part of it. And I want to sit with Joe and say, ‘Look, is this something you want to be a part of? Do you want to go play on a playoff team? I think he’s deserved the right to have that.”