In June, former New Jersey and Brooklyn Nets executive Bobby Marks joined ESPN as a NBA Front Office Insider. Thanks to a frenetic NBA Free Agency period and other offseason dealmaking, the 20-year NBA veteran is already busy sharing his insights and analysis on the inner workings of how teams operate.
As part of his new multi-platform role, Marks will write columns for ESPN.com and the ESPN App, contribute to NBA studio programs like NBA Countdown, The Jump, SportsCenter and more. He will also be a regular guest on ESPN Radio and various ESPN podcasts.
Marks spoke with Front Row about his transition to the company, the NBA free agency frenzy, and how he learned he is neighbors with an ESPN colleague.
How would you describe your role as ESPN’s NBA Front Office Insider?
The goal is to pull back the curtain and give the reader or viewer a first-hand look at how the front office of each team operates. I think it is very easy to play Monday morning quarterback and analyze why a transaction was made, but the goal is to provide first-hand intimate knowledge on the inner workings of the front office thinking. For example, there was some criticism in Chicago after they traded Jimmy Butler to Minnesota. Instead of criticizing the Bulls’ front office, let’s tell the viewer why exactly Chicago made that trade and what their thinking was.
Which move or trade during the current NBA Free Agency period has surprised you the most?
From a team perspective, I like what Oklahoma City did this summer. General Manager Sam Presti and his front office are one of the most creative teams in the NBA, and he turned a summer of limited options into Paul George, Patrick Patterson, Andre Roberson, Raymond Felton and draft pick Terrance Ferguson. Now the question is, can he get MVP Russell Westbrook to commit to the richest extension in NBA history?
What are your initial thoughts on your first few weeks at ESPN?
The first few weeks have been a whirlwind, starting on the first day of free agency and it felt like I was starting the first day of school. I had one initial goal when I started on July 1: “How can I make each of the NBA writers’ job easier?”
The one thing I learned, and it reminded me of when I worked for the Nets, is that from the writers to the editors everyone at ESPN works as a team. The only way we can continue to provide accurate and detailed information is through teamwork.
— Seth Markman (@tunasweasel) June 28, 2017
I understand you are neighbors with ESPN senior coordinating producer Seth Markman. How has he helped you get settled in your new role?
Seth has been great and has really helped me in the transition. We were introduced by current Dolphins GM Mike Tannenbaum and had no clue that we were living across the street from each other.
Coordinating producer Mike Epstein was also a big help in the transition. I had met Mike about two years ago when I came up and did SportsCenter before the draft and free agency, and it was great to see a familiar face when I started on July 1.