MILWAUKEE — Despite overseeing one of the most turbulent campaigns in recent memory this season, Nets general manager Sean Marks is expected back for the next, sources told The Post.
The dismantling of Brooklyn’s Big 3 was lambasted in some quarters as the NBA’s worst failure in decades and had some speculating that Marks could end up being ousted.
But with the Nets on a three-game winning streak, a highly placed league source told The Post that “ownership has full confidence in that front office to build for the future.”
Neither Marks nor Nets team owner Joe Tsai had any comment, but multiple sources confirmed the New Zealand-born executive’s expected return. Another source has described Marks and Tsai as having been “in lockstep.”
Marks has been on the job for seven years and will oversee a second build.
He can afford the stability on the basketball side that the Nets have lacked on the business side, with four CEOs in the last four years.
Even after the departures of both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving earlier last month for which some felt he might be scapegoated, Marks extended coach Jacque Vaughn on Feb. 21.
It was not only his decision to reward Vaughn, but it was notably his voice in the ensuing press release.
Marks’ current contractual status is unclear.
The Post had reported in April 2019 that Brooklyn had given Marks an extension, and then he proceeded to land Durant and Irving that summer.
He traded for former MVP James Harden in January 2021 to complete a Big 3.
But Harden forced a move to Philadelphia at last season’s trade deadline, and the primary return — Ben Simmons — has been a disaster thus far in terms of health, performance and contractual commitment.
Durant tried to get both Marks and then-coach Steve Nash fired last summer before a sit-down with Marks and Tsai convinced the four-time NBA scoring champion to relent and return to Brooklyn.
Irving eventually demanded a trade last month, and when Brooklyn shipped the mercurial point guard to Dallas, Durant followed suit in requesting a move.
It was handled quietly and discreetly, sending Durant to Phoenix.
At that point, whispers around the league began to pick up in volume that Marks’ job could be a jeopardy.
Instead, Marks’ acquisition from the Suns of Mikal Bridges — a rising young gem that Phoenix had been adamantly against parting with this past summer — will be the centerpiece of Brooklyn’s retooling.
Bridges is averaging 25.5 points on sterling .526/.481/.922 shooting splits as a Net, the first player in league history to muster 25 points on 50/40/90 shooting splits through his first 10 games with a new team.
Marks arrived during the 2015-16 season and took over not just the league’s worst team but also its most dire circumstance, bereft of draft picks.
He built a playoff foundation that attracted Durant and Irving, and Bridges is developing into the kind of young standout that can be a running mate for the next star the Nets will target.
Brooklyn also has the fourth-most draft capital from 2023 through ’29: A total of 11 first-round picks and eight seconds (some from the Suns, 76ers and Mavericks), as well as a team-record $8 million trade exception, currently the biggest in the league.
After Marks has already proven capable of building the Nets into a contender once — finding gems like Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie, plus drafting the likes of Jarrett Allen and Nic Claxton — he’s shown he’s not daunted by hard work or tough situations.
“Yeah, this is — I wouldn’t say it’s become commonplace in the NBA — but it seems to be more of that trajectory where the continuity of, say, the Spurs teams of the past or even some of those Celtics or Lakers where there’s a lot of continuity over the years is definitely a rarity in the league,” Harris told the Post. “Milwaukee is one of the few where they keep a large part of their roster together.
“And in my time here, even in the early years, we still had tons of turnover. But for Sean, he’s always made the most of the situation, whether that’s free agents coming and going. I feel like just genuinely across the board, he brings in sort of like-minded people where there’s a level of just humility, togetherness, unity, where, you’re trying to play and do stuff the right way. And that’s been a pretty consistent theme since I’ve been in Brooklyn.”