Posts Tagged ‘Sean Marks’

Canada Market Booms as NBA Takes On World; ‘Down Under’ Next?

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Chances are good next June that for the second consecutive year, the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft will have honed his skills and built his street cred on the asphalt courts of … Toronto, Ontario. And with Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins as a favourite to take the maple-leaf baton from UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, we might want to refer to the heated jockeying for position among likely lottery teams as tanquing, for this season anyway.

A rising interest in Canada in the NBA is the primary reason behind tonight’s game in Montreal, when the Boston Celtics (with first-round pick Kelly Olynyk, a 7-footer from Kamloops by way of Gonzaga) face the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Bell Centre. A year ago, the NBA staged its first-ever NBA Canada Series preseason games in that country (Knicks-Raptors in Montreal, Pistons-Timberwolves in Winnipeg) and the only thing surprising about that was that it took so long.

The Raptors, obviously, have been playing preseason games there since they entered the league via expansion in 1995. So did their newbie cohort Vancouver Grizzlies for six seasons, until their move to Memphis in 2001.

The NBA’s and basketball’s roots in the nation are undeniable. The man who invented the game in 1891, Dr. James Naismith, was a Canadian, after all. And what is accepted as the NBA’s inaugural game was played at Maple Leaf Gardens between the New York Knicks and the Toronto Huskies, who lasted one season in the precursor BAA.

Sixty-seven years later, the NBA has just the Raptors’ as its single toehold in Canada, and it stages its preseason games there much as it does in exotic lands like Taiwan and Brazil, with a missionary zeal that creates festivals of NBA basketball, stirring casual interest rather than relying on hardcore devotees of the league. The Grizzlies are gone, and expansion even in U.S. cities appears to be low on commissioner David Stern‘s or presumptive replacement Adam Silver‘s lists of priorities.

Beneath the surface, however, there may be something building.

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Sean Marks to Join Spurs’ Bench Staff

Sean Marks, the former San Antonio center who spent the past two seasons working in the team’s front office, will move to the Spurs bench for 2013-14 to complete coach Gregg Popovich‘s assistant coaching staff, NBA.com has learned.

Marks, 38, worked under Spurs president R.C. Buford and assistant general manager Scott Layden as director of basketball operations last season and also served as GM of the D-League Austin Toros. He moves into the vacancy opened by longtime assistant Brett Brown‘s move to Philadelphia as the 76ers head coach and joins Jim Boylen and Ime Udoka on the game-night bench. Boylen was hired off Indiana’s staff in late June to replace Mike Budenholzer, who was hired as the Atlanta Hawks’ new head coach.

A native of Auckland, New Zealand, the 6-foot-10 Marks  played for six NBA teams in parts of 11 seasons spread over 13 years. After being drafted in the 1998 second round pick by New York, he appeared in just 230 games for Toronto, Miami, San Antonio, Phoenix, New Orleans and Portland, spent the 2000-01 season in Poland and was sidelined by a knee injury for all of 2003-04. Marks did earn a championship ring with the Spurs in 2004-05 after averaging 3.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 10.6 minutes in 23 games.

Marks spent the 2011-12 season as an intern in the Spurs’ basketball office. According to a story in May on the Stuff news Web site in New Zealand, the University of California product was paying attention as he moved through various NBA organizations. Wrote Brendon Egan:

“From an outsider’s perspective, I think I enjoyed looking at different teams and organisations and looking at their makeup and thinking, ‘How does that fit together?’,” Marks says. “I really got an eye-opening experience (while playing for the Spurs) . . .

“I stayed in contact with Pop and R.C. over the course of my career and I’m glad they found a place for me.”

Opportunity can come swiftly in the Spurs system, given how popular their assistant coaches and front-office staffers have become with rival teams looking to hire. Now Marks will be adding clipboard duties to his growing resume.

Wallace Still Sore About Trade

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We suspect the standing ovation Gerald Wallace will receive at Time Warner Arena tonight in Charlotte will be as long and thunderous as any heard in Bobcats’ history.

After all, it’s not every day that the very first face of the franchise walks through the door with an opposing team. Yet that’s exactly what Wallace and his new team, the Portland Trail Blazers, will do this evening.

And it’s far from the happy homecoming you might have imagined. Wallace is more than happy to be toiling on a Blazers team steaming toward the playoffs with a renewed energy, due in large part to their last-minute acquisition of Wallace at the Feb. 24 trade deadline. And few players have exhibited the sort of no-nonsense approach to their work that Wallace does on a daily basis.

His description of the way he was shipped out of Charlotte, though, doesn’t sound like the sort of treatment the only All-Star in Bobcats history deserved. Wallace used phrases like “stab in the back” and “slap in the face” to capture his feelings about the trade, a move he insists Bobcats coach Paul Silas told him would not happen just hours before it did.

“Basically, he told me before the practice that I was good, that no trades were going to go down and I was OK and I didn’t have anything to worry about,” Wallace told reporters in Charlotte Thursday, his first day back in town since the trade. “Then I get home and bam, I’m traded.”

In this era of players dictating the terms of their own careers, the one that has some people crowing about a ruinous takeover of the league by star players demanding to play with their All-Star friends, Wallace is a victim of the age-old flip side practice of teams making moves in their own financial best interest with little regard to what that means to the player or players involved.

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