The San Antonio Spurs have lost another member of their front office to the Brooklyn Nets, who are becoming the Spurs of the Eastern Conference.
The Brooklyn Nets are starting to look a lot like the San Antonio Spurs, and not just because they have a similar color scheme.
The Nets had one of the bleakest situations in basketball after sending just about every unprotected draft pick they could give away to the Celtics in the trade that got them Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
That trade never really bore too much fruit as Brooklyn never made the Finals with that core, and they were instead left in a basketball wasteland where they had limited resources to acquire talent for a rebuild.
The Nets needed to bring in an intelligent basketball mind to oversee this difficult rebuild, and they did just that by hiring Sean Marks as their general manager.
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Marks has deep roots in San Antonio where he played from 2003-06 and was an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich from 2013-16 before heading to Brooklyn.
The Nets hired a head coach with Spurs ties as well in Kenny Atkinson, who worked for five years as an assistant in Atlanta for Mike Budenholzer, who was another disciple of Popovich (Spurs assistant from 1996-2013).
Brooklyn has added yet another person from the Spurs’ tree to their front office by hiring Andy Birdsong as their assistant general manager, according to a report from Woj.
Sean Marks praised his new assistant in the Nets’ press release regarding the hiring:
“Andy is an accomplished basketball executive who brings a wealth of experience in talent evaluation and roster construction to our front office team,” said Marks. “The knowledge he has garnered from his time as a member of such exemplary organizations as the Spurs and the Hawks will greatly benefit our group. We are excited to welcome Andy, his wife, Megan, and his son, Ace, to Brooklyn.”
Birdsong began his front office career as a basketball operations intern in San Antonio. He then became the general manager of the G League Austin Spurs, and he was promoted to the titles of director of basketball operations and director of pro personnel in two different stints in San Antonio.
He also worked with Kenny Atkinson in Atlanta, giving Birdsong strong ties to the Nets’ head coach and general manager.
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Stealing Spurs staff members has been a secret to Brooklyn’s success resulting in a playoff berth this season, and they will probably continue that strategy moving forward.
Fortunately, San Antonio has a ton of experience replacing front office personnel and assistant coaches who were hired away by other organizations to remain successful throughout this historic dynasty. I expect them to do it again in replacing Birdsong.