New Zealander Sean Marks has transformed the ugly duckling Brooklyn Nets into the NBA's new power by snaring superstar free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in a $454 million play.
Marks, the first New Zealand-born player to play in the NBA, became general manager of the hapless Nets in 2016 and through astute choices built a group of unheralded players into a team that made the playoffs last season.
They will have two All-Stars and veteran centre DeAndre Jordan to make the team a legitimate chance to claim the Eastern Conference and fight for a title.
Durant, despite likely missing the coming season with an achilles tear, and Irving were two of the jewels of the NBA free agent signing period that opened at 10am Monday NZT.
Forward Durant, an NBA MVP, two-time NBA champion and 10-time All-Star, will leave the Golden State Warriors and join the Nets on a four-year max deal worth $243.9m, he announced on the Instagram account linked to his ESPN- owned site, The Boardroom.
Point guard Irving, an NBA champion with the Cleveland Cavaliers and six-time All-Star, is fleeing the Boston Celtics, after a tumultuous season, to link up with Durant in Brooklyn in a four-year, $209.7m deal.
Brooklyn is making a clean sweep tonight: Brooklyn will sign Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2019
The 211cm tall Jordan, a two-time NBA All-Defensive team member, played with the Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn's cross-town rival New York Knicks last season.
In other major free agent moves, Charlotte's All-Star guard Kemba Walker has reportedly agreed to join the Celtics on a four-year $NZ209.7m deal.
Kawhi Leonard, after leading the Toronto Raptors to their first championship, is also a free agent but is not expected to rush to make a decision.