Marks told WFAN on Tuesday that when he first talked with Durant after his announcement, the former MVP said: “I love the system. I love how you guys play. I see how hard you guys play. … You were never out of games. We could never take you guys lightly.”
Marks didn’t have any conversations with Durant before he made his choice, but he voiced no concern about that.
“I think we all know what we are getting with Kevin,” Marks said. “The talent is undeniable.”
Marks found out about Durant’s decision the same way most NBA fans did: on the player’s Instagram account a few minutes after free agency began the evening of June 30.
Max Kellerman argues that Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson won’t be worth their contracts if they don’t return close to form.
“What we knew was we were either getting a teleconference call with Kevin that night or we were going to potentially get a meeting,” Marks said. “We’d seen some media reports earlier in the day that Kevin had crossed several teams off his list, and we were still [being considered]. And those reports were there for everybody to read. And then when Kevin posted it on The Boardroom Instagram site, that was news to all of us in the office.”
Marks said he knows Durant is going to attack his rehab from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the NBA Finals “like no other.”
Asked when he expected the 10-time All-Star to return, Marks said, “I have no idea. We’re certainly not going to rush him back. There’s going to be absolutely none of that. We have far too much invested in him, and we owe it to Kevin to get him back to 100 percent.”
The Nets’ position in the standings won’t play any role in when Durant comes back, Marks said.
“This is entirely going to be a Kevin Durant decision,” he said.
Marks credited coach Kenny Atkinson with instilling the attitude and relentless style of play that Durant admired. He acknowledged that with elite players such as Durant and All-Star Kyrie Irving now leading the team, the relationship between the hard-driving coach and players might change.
“I think everything has to change slightly. We haven’t had that type of talent. Things are going to change, things are going to adapt, they have to,” Marks said. “They have to start driving the culture. We have to learn from them. These guys are elite-level players. We have to see what we can learn from them.”
But, he said, “I can assure you Kenny is not going to be anything different than who Kenny is.”
Marks is looking forward to seeing how a Nets team with Durant and Irving will unfold.
“I’m definitely excited about — Kevin, for sure, the whole group and really the challenge of getting all these guys together on the same page and watching how it unfolds,” he said. “I think that’s the magic, and that’s the real special piece where you see elite talent want to play together and see who’s going to sacrifice what and who’s going to bring what to the table and just see how they all mesh.”