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Sean Marks hints at Nets having to wait for Kevin Durant’s return

Steve Murphy



Sean Marks hints at Nets having to wait for Kevin Durant's return

Nets general manager Sean Marks has given a first clue that Kevin Durant’s Nets’ debut will take place not in Orlando’s fan-less venue Milkhouse Gym in mid-July but in Kings County, next season.

Speaking to second New Zealand outlet in the past few weeks, Marks praised Durant’s physical condition, but gave the indication a return for the 2020 playoffs wasn’t in the cards.

“I can tell you now he looks pretty darn good and I’m excited about him on the floor at Barclays in front of that fan base,’’ Marks said on Sky Sport NZ’s “The Pod” podcast. “But how do they mesh? How do they all play together? That’s the chess game, the intricacies of what a coaching staff does, what the management group does to put the right pieces around them.’’

Marks raised hope three weeks ago when he said a Durant return was “the $110 million question.’’

However, sources told The Post traction on a July 15 return for the season’s resumption is very slow — even if it would mark 13 months since he tore his Achilles tendon. Recovery times are usually 6-12 months.

Kevin Durant and Sean MarksGetty Images, N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Support for a Durant comeback when training camp opens in mid-to-late June is that he was already doing five-on-five contact scrimmages with several Nets reserves and player developmental coaches in early March.

However, the March 11 shutdown made it impossible for Durant to maintain or escalate that routine. While players are all in the same boat having had three months off when training camp opens in late June, Durant was not at the point of being ready for a game when everything stopped. Scrimmaging five-on-five was a key part of the rehab process at that stage, sources told The Post, and that ground to a halt.

Reading between the lines, Marks’ remarks also pointed to a desire for Durant to come back when a coaching staff is set and Kyrie Irving (shoulder surgery) is back. Jacque Vaughn is the interim coach and not expected to return next season — with Tyronn Lue, Mark Jackson and Tom Thibodeau figuring to be in the mix.

The KD-Kyrie signings were all about winning a championship. Durant’s return for the playoffs would be a delicious, inspirational treat to hungry New York basketball fans — and the NBA — but he’d probably have to play limited minutes and without Irving. The Nets are the seventh seed in the East.

“That’s what these guys are fighting for now,’’ Marks told the podcast. “If you talk to Kevin and Ky, they’ve both won —Kevin’s won two championships, Ky’s won a championship — so now, it’s how do we make this ours, how do we take this to the next level and who do we do it with? That’s a big part of their decisions.”

Last week, Durant gave a cryptic response, saying he’ll return when “it’s time.’’ His agent, Rich Kleiman, said on Joe Vardon’s Athletic podcast a return was “unrealistic”. KD buddy Jay Williams told The Post a return into the playoff cauldron wasn’t “fair to Kevin.’’

If KD doesn’t play in the 2020 playoffs the downside is he may not officially take the court until Chrismtas.

Steve Murphy has handled various businesses throughout his career and has a deep domain knowledge. He founded Report Door in an attempt to bring the latest news to its readers. He is glued to the stock market most of the times and just loves being in touch with the developments in the business world.

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The night Stephen Curry won over New York City

Steve Murphy



The night Stephen Curry won over New York City

Stephen Curry wasn’t yet what he would become that night of Feb. 27, 2013. The Warriors weren’t yet what they’d become. And hard as it may be to remember this, Golden State wasn’t the best team on the floor at the Garden that night, and it wasn’t all that close.

Knicks fans already knew Curry, of course. He was the one-man dynamo who nearly carried Davidson to the 2008 Final Four, and a year later he’d wowed the Knicks’ brass in a workout at the team’s Westchester County headquarters a few weeks before the draft. Mike D’Antoni had been so impressed by what he’d seen that day that afterward, he shook Curry’s hand and laughed.

“We can’t draft you,” the Knicks coach said.

“Oh?” Curry answered. “Why?”

“Because [team executive and former Knicks sharpshooter] Allan Houston said he doesn’t want to be known as the second-best shooter in Knicks history.”

A few weeks later, there had still been a strong belief that Curry would be available to the Knicks at No. 8. The Warriors also were clearly interested at No. 7, but both Curry’s ex-NBA-player father, Dell, and his agent, Jeff Austin, were wary of Steph landing there, with its deep history of dysfunction and losing.

Stephen Curry
Stephen CurryAP

Perhaps if they’d been as convincing at poker as Jellybean Bryant and Arn Tellem had been a few years earlier, history might have turned out much differently. Thirteen years earlier, on the eve of the 1996 draft, the Nets had been lasered in on drafting high school phenom Kobe Bryant with the No. 8 pick until Bryant’s father and his agent warned John Calipari that Kobe would never play for the Nets. It was probably a bluff, but Calipari fell for it; he picked Kerry Kittles instead. You might know how things worked out from there.

This time, Team Steph didn’t resort to strong-arm tactics, and Knicks president Donnie Walsh chose not to investigate any draft-night deals that could nudge the Knicks above the Warriors — specifically with Minnesota, which owned both the No. 5 and No. 6 picks, just before Golden State. So it was off to Golden State for Steph.

And between that night and Feb. 28, 2013, it was hard to be too terribly angst-ridden if you were a Knicks fan. Curry had shown clear promise but he’d also developed a pair of trick ankles; he’d been limited to just 23 games in 2011-12. The Knicks, meanwhile, were in first place in the Atlantic Division, on the way to 54 wins and their lone playoff series victory since 2000. Momentum was back at the Garden.

And technically, they won that night, too, 109-105 — Carmelo Anthony scoring 36 points, Tyson Chandler grabbing 28 rebounds. But it was Steph Curry who was the big winner, who won over the Garden and New York City. He scored 54. He shot 13 3-pointers and he made 11 of them, some of them from preposterous range.

The Garden was happy for the home team; it was ecstatic for this kid, not yet 25, who’d chosen MSG for his coming-out party.

“There was a lot of energy in that arena for both teams,” Curry said that night. “When I started putting up some numbers, when I made a couple of shots, you could hear the crowd. I was running off adrenaline.”

From that night, of course, the paths of the Warriors and the Knicks diverged so greatly, and so steeply, it’s hard to believe sometimes they compete in the same league. Just 12 days later the Warriors humiliated the Knicks at Oracle Arena, 92-63, Curry and another kid Warrior, Klay Thompson, combining for 49. Soon they would start to collect championship banners, three of them between 2015 and 2018.

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Look, using 20/20 hindsight you can certainly wonder why Walsh didn’t make a stronger play to move up in the draft, but it actually seemed at the time like a huge break that Arizona’s Jordan Hill, projected as a top-4 pick, fell to them at 8 (notwithstanding an unremarkable eight-year career that included all of 24 games as a Knick).

The more classic hand-wringer what-if is to notice that the Raptors, at 9, picked a 6-foot-6 swingman out of USC named DeMar DeRozan, a career 20.0-point-per-game scorer, four-time all-star, two-time all-NBA player. Still, it’s fascinating to wonder just what would’ve happened if Curry had become a Knick in 2009. He was, after all, already friends with LeBron James; would that have made the Knicks more appealing to James during his 2010 free agency?

Would D’Antoni and Curry (and, perhaps, James) have clicked? If they hadn’t, it is entirely possible that the Knicks job might have been appealing to someone like, say, Steve Kerr, who ran toward Oakland in 2014 and away from New York. Would Walsh have stayed in New York, cutting off the Phil Jackson Follies before they were ever a germ of an idea?

Curry, for his part, admitted recently to former NBA players Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes: “I wanted to go to New York and thought I was going to New York. At the draft — in the green room — I was like, ‘Oh, get to the eight spot and New York can get me.’”

New York wouldn’t have minded that either, as it turns out.

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Brian Cashman turned job he didn’t want into a Yankees dream

Steve Murphy



Brian Cashman turned job he didn't want into a Yankees dream

Part 30 in a series analyzing the New York Yankees.

There was a time when Brian Cashman wanted no part of being George Steinbrenner’s general manager.

“Early on I was with [GM] Woody Woodward, whose nickname was ‘The Pharmacist’ because his office drawer was filled with vitamins to try and keep him healthy while he was under such siege from The Boss,’’ Cashman recalled recently while on a fund-raising call for Family Center’s Emergency Family Assistance Fund. “I remember saying to myself, ‘I would never want that job.’ Why would I not want the job? Because it is a no-win, so stressful.’’

Games or no games, this is Cashman’s 23rd year in a job he never wanted but landed on Feb. 3, 1998, after Bob Watson stepped down.

Across the 52-year-old Cashman’s 34 years working for the Yankees, there have been challenges, successes, heartbreaks, difficult decisions and failures.

“It has been an amazing magic-carpet ride which has led us to this season,’’ was the way Cashman described being part of the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year-old intern in the minor league scouting department.

This season was supposed to start March 26 in Baltimore, but the coronavirus shut down spring training on March 12. The players and owners are attempting to get an 82-game schedule launched in July. Health, safety and financial issues will decide if there are games or not.

Brian CashmanAP

Should it start, the Yankees would be among the favorites to add their 28th World Series title. It’s an expectation Cashman never ducks.

“We believe we have another championship-caliber team on our hands, and we just want to deploy it the best way we possibly can. We have been knocking on the door and are always in championship mode,’’ Cashman said.

The addition of free agent right-hander Gerrit Cole immediately pushed the Yankees to the top of the AL heap. It was a move orchestrated by Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner approving a nine-year deal for $324 million.

Yet, if simply throwing millions of dollars at players delivered championships the Yankees wouldn’t be looking for their first World Series title since 2009.

Signed through the 2022 season, Cashman’s care of the Yankees’ minor leaguers in the final days of this past spring training, when he led a contingent of staffers feeding the players and handing out money, was appreciated and didn’t go unnoticed by those who work under him.

“Brian plays a crucial role in our success, and I’ve known for quite some time how fortunate we are to have him leading our baseball operations department,’’ Steinbrenner said after Cashman was named Baseball America’s Executive of the Year in 2017. “He cares deeply about this franchise and our fans, and he skillfully navigates the many challenges that come with holding the position he does in the media capital of the world.’’

Though Cole is the headliner, Cashman has made several lesser-known moves that have paid off very well.

Getting first baseman Luke Voit from the Cardinals for relievers Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos provided a power-hitting first baseman.

Acquiring outfielder Mike Tauchman from the Rockies for lefty Phillip Diehl gave the Yankees depth last year when Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton missed extended time.

Trading closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for Gleyber Torres in return in 2016 was a good move even before Chapman returned to the Yankees as a free agent following the season.

Adding free agent infielder DJ LeMahieu to the mix with a two-year contract for $24 million before last season was a big plus. Landing relievers Chad Green and Luis Cessa from the Tigers for Justin Wilson in 2015 was a steal. Getting Gio Urshela from the Blue Jays for cash considerations turned out well.

Of course there have been misses such as Jacoby Ellsbury. Not retaining Didi Gregorius could backfire if Torres can’t play short. But if there is a schedule, expect the team Cashman constructed to be playing in the postseason.

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Mike Singletary steps down as high school football coach after compiling 1-21 record

Steve Murphy



Mike Singletary steps down as high school football coach after compiling 1-21 record

Mike Singletary has accomplished a lot of great things in his football career. He was a Hall of Fame linebacker with the Bears, most notably playing on the vaunted 1985 defense that led Chicago to a Super Bowl championship. But his coaching career hasn’t quite panned out the way he hoped.

The Dallas Morning News reported last week that Singletary resigned from his head coaching duties at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, Texas. In two seasons at TCA, Singletary compiled a 1-21 record, including a winless 0-11 season in 2019. The school’s athletic director, Donald English, told the Morning News that Singletary has been focused on motivational speaking and consulting since his resignation.

Going 1-21 at a high school program is a far cry from coaching in the NFL, which Singletary did for 12 seasons. He started out as a linebackers coach for the Ravens in 2003. Two seasons later, he joined Baltimore defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in heading to the 49ers.

When Nolan was fired as head coach midway through the 2008, San Francisco named Singletary interim head coach. He remained at the helm for two more seasons, amassing an 18-22 record in two and a half before being dismissed heading into the final week of the 2010 season.

MORE: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin favors incentivizing minority hires to fix ‘broken’ system

Singletary went on to work as an assistant with the Vikings and Rams before more recently moving on to the AAF and high school football.

Between his time at the NFL, AAF and high school levels, Singletary has compiled a head coaching record of 21-49 (.300).

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