Mike D’Antoni A Candidate To Join Steve Nash’s Staff?

Former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni is a candidate to join Steve Nash‘s new coaching staff with the Nets, a source tells Frank Isola of SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link).

D’Antoni and Nash obviously have an extensive history — Nash played for D’Antoni for four years in Phoenix, earning four consecutive All-Star berths and a pair of MVP awards during that time. The veteran point guard later played for D’Antoni again in Los Angeles with the Lakers.

A source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post that D’Antoni and Nash remain “tight.” Berman also refers to D’Antoni as an “X’s and O’s offensive master,” suggesting he’d be a good match for a first-time head coach like Nash, who admitted last month that he was hired more for his relationships and culture-building skills than his tactical acumen.

D’Antoni has been linked to head coaching openings in Indiana and New Orleans and would presumably favor one of those jobs over an assistant position. However, it’s unclear if he’s a finalist for either the Pacers’ or Pelicans’ vacancy.

If he’s willing to accept an assistant role, D’Antoni makes sense as a target for the Nets, given his connection with Nash and the franchise’s deep pockets. Brooklyn made Jacque Vaughn the NBA’s highest-paid assistant, so presumably the team would be amenable to making an aggressive offer for D’Antoni as well.

Isola also mentions Lakers assistant Phil Handy as a possible candidate for Nash’s staff. Handy has previously been identified in multiple reports as a possible target for the Nets.

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21 thoughts on “Mike D’Antoni A Candidate To Join Steve Nash’s Staff?

    • The life of most coaches. Look at Don Nelson. An icon in Milwaukee, very excellent first time in Oakland, a flop in New York, a hero in Dallas, and so so in Oakland again.

    • Jason Lancaster

      How do you figure?

      Lead assistant coaches who have had the big job have a ton of responsibility, get paid OK, and get to make their own terms.

      If you’re D’Antoni, I doubt you view getting paid to mentor and coach a friend and first time head coach as a “fall from grace.”

      Coaches do like to coach, after all.

  1. Sillivan

    IMO
    Jason Kidd 4 years contract 6.5M
    Mike Brown 4 years contract 16M including Cavs salary?

    • Sillivan

      Brooklyn made Jacque Vaughn the NBA’s highest-paid assistant

      higher than championship assistant coach

    • Chief Two Hands

      Mike Brown is right up there with D’Antoni regarding overrated head coaches. Both should be assistants. Of course Brown has already been relegated to that.

  2. KnickerbockerAl

    Top asst make 3-5 mill. He would a lot to that team. I would pay him top dollar to come to Nets. What team is out there. Only Clippers job is better than this. It’s NYC and they will make Finals runs for yrs. If they can pull it off. It’s a great move. Always been a DAntoni guy. He’s one of the good guys. All about Ball.

  3. goldenmisfit

    I get Mike going to Brooklyn but why would an assistant coach of the defending world champions want to leave Los Angeles and go to Brooklyn under the same job title.

    • Luke Adams

      He did leave the defending world champions (the Raptors) in 2019, so it wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented.

  4. Curtisrowe

    I love all these people mocking D’Antoni because he might make 3 million a year while having a fairly low pressure job.

    • azcrook

      It might be time in his life where a less stressful coaching position would work for him and his family.

    • Jason Lancaster

      For real. Coaches like to coach. As a lead assistant, you can avoid all the cameras and pressers, avoid all the garbage they say about head coaches in the press, and still get paid!

      It’s like being a head coach, but actually coaching more than anything else.

      If D’Antoni does it right, he can opt out of his deal if/when a better offer comes along, and he won’t be responsible for any game planning. About as “cushy” a coaching job as a guy can have.

  5. jonnyzuck

    I would have liked him as a head coach so if you can get him as an assistant that’s a good move

  6. Michael Chaney

    Considering Kyrie’s dumb comments about not really needing a head coach, it’s impressive/ironic that the Nets are trying to build such a strong staff around Nash

  7. stevep-4

    I predict that by mid-season there is going to be a fist fight in that locker room. Not predicting who will be involved, though.

    • You’re not going out in a limb much with that one. I think it happens at least once in every single locker room Across America Pro and college. When you talk about starting jobs and competition and minutes, it’s going to happen.

      In fact, my college point guard fought every guy in the team at the beginning of the year just to earn the respect of everybody. He was voted team captain after that and was our best defensive player. A true leader. Fist fight in the locker room is not always a bad thing.

  8. CastielStrife

    This would be an interesting get for the Nets. I actually like the Nash hire for them. I think the players will respond well, but it will either be really good or really bad most likely. Having someone like D’Antoni as an assistant would be huge. I like D’Antoni, I’m just not sure he has what it takes to win a chip as a head coach. His lack of making adjustments gets in the way at times. As an assistant, though, I’d love to see what those two could do together with an up and coming Nets team.

    • CastielStrife

      I should have said I think the players except* Kyrie. I don’t think he responds well to anyone lol.

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