The Nets shocked the basketball world on Thursday morning when they announced that Steve Nash would become the team’s new head coach. Nash, who hadn’t been cited as a potential candidate during Brooklyn’s search process, wasn’t even known to be seeking a head coaching job.
However, according to Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily, Nash’s name came up “very early” in the process, perhaps even as early as March, shortly after Jacque Vaughn took over for Kenny Atkinson on an interim basis. As Puccio explains, Nash was emerging as the team’s top choice by May. General manager Sean Marks has a history with Nash, having played with him in Phoenix from 2006-08, and star forward Kevin Durant among those pushing for the former star point guard.
That connection with Durant, forged during Nash’s stint as a consultant for the Warriors, will be crucial for the first-time head coach, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, who suggests that Nash’s potential as the Nets’ head coach is tied to the respect he can command from Durant and Kyrie Irving. As long as those star players are happy, the risk of Nash’s inexperience is mitigated, Bondy opines.
Here’s more on the Nets’ surprising hire:
- Nash reached out to longtime friend Dirk Nowitzki to gauge his interest in joining the Nets as an assistant coach, but Nowitzki isn’t looking for a full-time basketball job so soon after retiring, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).
- Speaking to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Nash explained why the Nets’ job appealed to him, admitting that he has always known in the back of his mind that he’d like to try coaching. The former two-time MVP also addressed his relationship with Durant. “I think that there is a trust, a commonality and a language between us when it comes to the game that has developed over time,” Nash said of his bond with KD. “That definitely is important. He’s one of the greatest players I’ve ever seen and to have his confidence is really important.”
- Tim Kawakami of The Athletic explores what Nash brought to the Warriors and what – in turn – he’ll bring to the Nets, noting that Steve Kerr is confident in the Hall-of-Famer’s ability to make the transition to coaching. “Yeah, he’ll be fine,” Kerr said. “He knows the drill. He’s been in the league forever and he knows the game as well as anybody and he understands people. And I think he’s very wise, so he’ll hire a good staff. And everything that he needs to learn, he’ll learn quickly.”
- ESPN insiders Bobby Marks, Tim MacMahon, Kirk Goldsberry, Tim Bontemps, and Brian Windhorst share their reactions to the news of the Nets hiring Nash, and explore best- and worst-case scenarios for the union.
- It may be an unconventional hire, but the Nets are getting a great teacher in Nash, says Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.