Steve Nash

Suns Rumors: Nash, Morris, Connelly, Point Guards

Former Suns guard and Hall of Famer Steve Nash has no interest in replacing GM Ryan McDonough, who was abruptly dismissed on Monday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Though Nash is a favorite of owner Robert Sarver, Nash does not want the time-consuming responsibility of running a front office, Wojnarowski adds. Nash is currently a Warriors consultant. Vice president of basketball operations James Jones and assistant GM Trevor Bukstein have taken over GM duties in Phoenix on an interim basis.

We have more from Phoenix:

  • Former Suns Markieff Morris and Mike James voiced their distaste for McDonough on social media, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays. McDonough infuriated Morris, currently with the Wizards, and his brother Marcus Morris by trading Marcus to the Pistons in the summer of 2015 after they signed team-friendly contracts with Phoenix. “Bout time lol,” Morris tweeted after learning of McDonough’s dismissal. James, who was waived last December after signing a contract two weeks earlier, tweeted, “I don’t think he was the right person for that job.”
  • Suns assistant GM Pat Connelly and director of scouting Courtney Witte were also fired on Monday, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets. Connelly was the Wizards’ director of player personnel before he was hired by Phoenix in 2013. More front office changes could be on the horizon, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Isaiah Canaan, Shaquille Harrison and rookies De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo continue to compete for point guard duties and none has emerged, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. First-year coach Igor Kokoskov admits that he needs to see much more from all of them. “A lot of mistakes,” he told Rankin and other media members. “There’s a lot of room for improvement.”
  • The timing of McDonough’s firing is an example of how Sarver has made a mess of the franchise, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post opines. The Suns will probably never reach their potential with Sarver heading the organization, Bontemps adds.

Hill, Kidd, Nash, Cheeks Headed To Hall Of Fame

2:24pm: Rod Thorn, who spent years as a coach and executive and worked for the league office, will also be inducted, Wojnarowski tweets.

10:55am: Former Sixers point guard Maurice Cheeks will also be inducted this year, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Cheeks was a four-time All-Star and a five-time selection to the All-Defensive Team. He won an NBA title in 1983.

10:33am: Three NBA greats will be part of the Class of 2018 for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Grant Hill, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash have all received notice that they will be among the inductees, although the formal announcement won’t be made until this weekend.

The third pick in the 1994 draft, Hill shared Rookie of the Year honors with Kidd. He was a seven-time All-Star, a first-team all-NBA selection in 1997 and a second-team choice four other times. He was also part of the gold medal team at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Kidd was a 10-time All-Star who is recognized as one of the top point guards of his era. He was a five-time choice to the all-NBA first team and led the league in assists in five seasons. He won Olympic gold medals in 2000 and 2008 and captured an NBA title with the Mavericks in 2011.

Nash is one of a handful of players to be named MVP in consecutive seasons. He was an eight-time All-Star, a five-time all-NBA first-team selection and a five-time assists leader. Nash also has a strong presence in international basketball as a former player and current GM for the Canadian national team.

Nash, Kidd, Allen Headline 13 Hall Of Fame Finalists

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has announced 13 finalists to be considered for election to the Hall of Fame in 2018. The list includes six first-time finalists, including likely first-ballot hall-of-famers Ray Allen, Jason Kidd, and Steve Nash, as well as Grant Hill, three-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith and four-time WNBA Champion Tina Thompson.

Among the seven other finalists are four-time NBA All-Star Maurice Cheeks, two-time NBA Champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich, and five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber. Rounding out the list are long-time Maryland coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell, 28-year NBA referee Hugh Evans, two-time NCAA National Championship Coach of Baylor Kim Mulkey, and 10-time AAU National Champions Wayland Baptist University.

The Class of 2018 will be announced on Saturday, March 31 at a press conference in San Antonio prior to the NCAA Men’s Final Four. Let’s now take a look at some more information on the six former NBA stars up for election as players.

  • Steve Nash – Played in the NBA for 19 seasons, earning MVP honors in both 2005 and 2006. An eight-time All-Star and an All-NBA First Team member in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Nash also holds the NBA record for highest career free throw percentage (.904) and had four seasons with a shooting line of .500/.400/.900, the most in NBA history.
  • Jason Kidd – During his 18-year NBA career, he earned All-NBA First Team honors five times and was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team four times. He is a 10-time NBA All-Star while also ranking second on the NBA all-time steals list (2,684) and all-time assists list (12,091).
  • Ray Allen – A two-time NBA Champion, Allen was selected to the All-Star game 10 times during his 18-year career. He is still the all-time NBA leader in three-point field goals made (2,973) and is ranked sixth on the all-time free throw percentage list (.894).
  • Grant Hill – A 19-year NBA veteran, a seven-time NBA All-Star, and a member of the All-NBA First Team in 1997, Hill was also a member of two NCAA national championship teams (1991, 1992) at Duke and a gold medal recipient at the 1996 Olympic Games.
  • Chris Webber –Webber is a five-time NBA All-Star and the 1994 NBA Rookie of the Year. He earned All-NBA First Team honors in 2001 and averaged more than 20 points per game for nine consecutive seasons from the mid-90’s to the early 00’s.
  • Maurice Cheeks – A four-time NBA All-Star (1983, 1986-1988) and four-time NBA All-Defensive team selection, Cheeks was also a member of the 1983 NBA Champion Philadelphia 76ers.

And-Ones: Lakers, Shaw, Brown

The Lakers were able to keep their 2016 first-rounder when they landed the No.2 overall pick in Tuesday’s lottery. The team still owes Philadelphia and Orlando a first round pick each and Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders breaks down the possible pick exchanges in a series of tweets. Los Angeles sends its 2017 first-rounder to Philly if it falls outside the top-3. If the Sixers get the 2017 pick, then the Magic receive the Lakers’ unprotected 2019 selection. If it doesn’t convey in 2017, then the Lakers send their 2018 unprotected pick to Philly and they wouldn’t owe Orlando a first-rounder at all. Instead, the Magic would receive a 2017 second-rounder and a 2018 second-rounder. Los Angeles is in this predicament because of its 2012 trade for Dwight Howard and its 2012 trade for Steve Nash.

Here are some notes on the upcoming draft:

  • The Lakers have offered Brian Shaw a spot on their coaching staff, but the former Nuggets coach is still weighing his options, reports Bill Oram of The Los Angeles Daily News.
  • Jaylen Brown, who’s a projected top-10 pick, won’t sign an agent. Instead, he will use the NBPA to advise him on his rookie deal, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets.
  • Memphis’ Dedric Lawson has withdrawn from the draft, as his father tells Gary Parrish of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Abdul-Malik Abu will withdraw from the draft and return to NC State, reports Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Jalen Moore will withdraw from the draft and return to Utah State, Goodman tweets.
  • The Bucks have worked out Tim Quarterman, Anthony Barber, Melo Trimble, Ron Baker, Anthony Gill and Devin Williams, per the team’s website.

Latest On Suns Coaching Search

The Suns are planning on casting a wide net this offseason in the search for their next head coach, Marc Stein of ESPN.com relays. Interim coach Earl Watson will be among the candidates in the running, Stein notes, with Phoenix also considering Sixers assistant and former Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni, former Sun and current coach at Grand Canyon University Dan Majerle and Warriors assistant Luke Walton.

Villanova coach Jay Wright is also reportedly in the mix, though there have been conflicting reports about the Suns’ level of interest in the 2016 NCAA National Championship winner. For his part, Wright indicated that he wished to remain with the Wildcats, but did leave himself some wiggle room should he have a change of heart, saying “I can say right now that, in my mind, I plan to stay at Villanova. But I also don’t want to be a liar. I want to stay. I know I want to stay, but I just say I hope I can stay because I’ve learned from the past how crazy things can be. I hope I can stay at Villanova because this is where I want to be.

GM Ryan McDonough had said that Watson would be a candidate for the job shortly after he replaced former coach Jeff Hornacek, and Watson has the support of at least some of the players. Phoenix is just 7-23 since Watson took over, though injuries have limited Brandon Knight to 10 games and Eric Bledsoe to none during that stretch. While the team hasn’t climbed in the standings under Watson, he has improved the Suns’ defense as a unit, with Phoenix notching a defensive rating that is good for 12th best in the league over its past 10 contests. Before Watson arrived, the Suns were a lowly 29th in that category.

Walton is one of the hottest names around the league when potential coaching candidates are discussed. The 36-year-old guided the Warriors to a record of 39-4 in the absence of coach Steve Kerr, who was recovering from offseason surgery and was unable to meet the physical demands of the position during the first half of the campaign. But according to Stein’s sources, Walton departing the Warriors for the Suns is an extreme long shot at the moment.

Team owner Robert Sarver was reportedly interested in hiring former MVP Steve Nash to coach the team back in February, but Nash remains uninterested in going into coaching on a full-time basis, Stein notes. Nash currently wants to focus on fatherhood, his various off-court interests, the part-time consulting role with the Warriors that he took on at the start of this season and his duties as GM of Team Canada, Stein writes. Sarver has said that McDonough will definitely continue as the team’s GM next season, but there is some speculation that the franchise may look to install Nash in a front office position in the future, Stein adds.

Pacific Notes: Walton, Nash, Hill, Divac

Warriors assistant Luke Walton has hired the Wasserman Media Group to represent him in negotiations, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Walton is reportedly a top candidate for the newly created Knicks vacancy, but the prospect of Walton ending up in New York is a long shot, tweets Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com. See more from the defending champs amid the latest from around the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors part-time player development consultant Steve Nash said he wouldn’t be closed to the possibility of working for the Suns in the future, but he’s not willing to become the team’s coach for now, calling the notion of the team’s apparent interest in him for its head coaching vacancy “a moot point at this point.” The two-time MVP made his comments on J.J. Redick‘s podcast for The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (audio link, scroll to 7:45 mark).
  • Interim Suns coach Earl Watson told new assistant Bob Hill when Hill was Watson’s coach on the SuperSonics from 2006 to 2007 that he’d like to coach with him someday, and that longstanding desire brought Hill back into NBA coaching after a nine-year absence, as Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic details. Hill still has some bitterness toward Spurs coach/president Gregg Popovich about Popovich’s decision to remove him as head coach of the Spurs nearly 20 years ago, Coro also relays. “I guess I didn’t do good enough. I don’t know. He wanted to be the coach,” Hill said of Popovich. “And as soon as he had an opportunity to get rid of me, he did it. It’s too bad. The league’s like that sometimes. You’re going to run into people like that sometimes and that’s part of life. It was a great experience. I’m happy I had that. It hasn’t affected my coaching. I continued to coach and always will.”
  • Kings GM Vlade Divac is only willing to make a trade if it’s a significant upgrade for the team, in spite of a report indicating that Sacramento is actively shopping many of its players, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee wrote today in a chat with readers.

Suns Eye Reluctant Steve Nash For Coaching Job

The Suns have strong interest in Steve Nash to fill their coaching vacancy but the two-time MVP doesn’t feel ready to become a full-time coach, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Chris Mannix of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports earlier today wrote that Nash should be expected to emerge as a candidate for the position created when the team fired Jeff Hornacek overnight, citing owner Robert Sarver’s fondness for the retired point guard. Sarver and Nash recently bought controlling interest in the Spanish soccer club Real Mallorca, Mannix notes. Still, Nash never wanted to be a head coach, tweets Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Nash is serving as a part-time player development consultant for the Warriors this season and is also GM of Team Canada.

Many believe Sarver would do whatever it takes to bring Nash back to the Suns organization, Mannix writes, suggesting that the team might consider clearing a front office position for him. The feeling around the Suns is that GM Ryan McDonough is safe for the time being, but ultimately the team is expected to review its operation from top to bottom, team sources told Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

Nash, who turns 42 on Sunday, is a year removed from having retired as a player, though the Mavericks reportedly clung to hopes as recently as June that he would return to play this season. A nerve ailment kept him from appearing in a regular season game last season.

Latest On Steve Nash

SEPTEMBER 25TH, 3:53pm: The Warriors have officially hired Nash, confirming that he’ll serve as a player development consultant, the team announced via press release.

“Steve Nash was one of the best guards to ever play in this league and we are so happy to add him to our staff and have him working with our players,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in the team’s statement. “Even though he possessed incredible individual skills and abilities, Steve always played the game with a team-first mentality, which is something that we emphasize greatly within our group. Steve and I have a great relationship from our time together in Phoenix while I was general manager, and we share a lot of beliefs about how the game should be played and about the work ethic that goes in to being great. I can’t wait to work with him again and have him around our team.”

The two-time MVP also expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership.

“I look forward to joining Coach Kerr and his great staff and helping out in any way that I can,” Nash said.  “The Warriors played such a beautiful style of team basketball last season and it’s a style that I am very familiar with and enjoyed playing throughout my career. This team is extremely talented, as they proved in winning the championship last season, but they also have a number of core players who are relatively young in their careers. That is a very unique blend and I’m excited about the opportunity to work with these guys and hopefully pass along some of the lessons that I learned during my career.”

SEPTEMBER 24TH, 1:00pm: Nash seemed to confirm in a video with Sportsnet Central’s Caroline Cameron that he’ll be working on the Warriors staff this season, as Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group transcribes. Nash answered a question about how he can help Stephen Curry and said that “hopefully I’ll learn as much from him as he will from me.”

SEPTEMBER 15TH, 1:58pm: The Mavericks held out hope as recently as late June that they could convince Steve Nash to come out of retirement to play for them this coming season, sources told Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The 41-year-old is nearing a deal to join the Warriors as a part-time player development consultant, as Stein also reports. The point guard announced his retirement in March, months after a nerve ailment had sidelined him for the season and made it seem doubtful, at best, that he would ever return to action. The Lakers held on to his contract until waiving him in April.

Nash spent six seasons in Dallas between 1998 and 2004, blossoming along with Dirk Nowitzki, who remains a close friend and whose charity softball game Nash took part in this summer, as Stein notes. Mavs owner Mark Cuban told Kenneth Arthur of Rolling Stone last year that his worst move as an owner was letting Nash sign with Phoenix in 2004. Nash’s level of play reached even higher levels when he was with the Suns, the team with which he won both his MVP awards.

Dallas had only spot duty in mind for Nash this time around, but Nash made it clear last year that if he were to play again, he would only do so as a Laker, as Stein points out. The Cavs tried and failed to convince Nash to push for a buyout from the Lakers last season that would have allowed him to finish up 2014/15 in Cleveland, as Stein reported in March. Nash said then that he wanted to live in Southern California forever, but while he’s poised to join a Northern California team, he’d only spend a few days each month with the Warriors, Stein writes.

The Mavs, as they stand, have no shortage of point guards, with four on the roster. That includes offseason addition Deron Williams and J.J. Barea, who re-signed with the team this summer, as well as holdovers Devin Harris and Raymond Felton.

What do you think Nash’s greatest legacy as a player will be? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Northwest Notes: Faried, Bennett, Kaman

People close to the Nuggets have indicated that Kenneth Faried played a larger role in the downfall of former coach Brian Shaw than publicly known, according to Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders. Trade rumors surrounded Faried for much of the past year, and many people around the league expect Denver will deal him away. Still, Dowsett takes Shaw to task for his performance as a coach last season and calls the hiring of Michael Malone the team’s best offseason addition. See more from the Northwest Division:

  • Anthony Bennett looked strong playing for the Canadian national team during the summer, and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor downplayed the idea that the Wolves will trade the former No. 1 overall pick, telling Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, “We shouldn’t assume he’d go” (Twitter link). The Wolves have reportedly been willing to move Bennett for the right return.
  • Chris Kaman would probably fit best on a contender, but he enjoyed playing for the Trail Blazers last season, and Kaman’s level of contentment has had much to do with whether he’s been successful over the past few seasons, as The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman examines. Kaman will make $5.016MM this season in the last year of his contract.
  • The exodus of so many of last season’s Trail Blazers has C.J. McCollum excited about the more prominent role he’s poised to take on this year, one reminiscent of his time as a scoring force in college at Lehigh, as he tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. McCollum is hopeful that he can continue to work with Steve Nash, who helped him with his game this summer, even though Nash is reportedly finalizing a deal to become a part-time player development consultant for the Warriors.

Pacific Notes: Morris, Kobe, Nash, Thompson

Suns free agent signee Tyson Chandler is optimistic that the team and Markieff Morris can resolve their differences, having gone through a tenuous time himself years ago when New Orleans traded him to the Thunder only to have Oklahoma City nix the deal, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic details. Phoenix doesn’t intend to fulfill the trade demand that Morris has made, Coro writes, which jibes with his report from earlier and what Grantland’s Zach Lowe heard, even though Morris reportedly plans on greeting the Suns front office with silence and coach Jeff Hornacek with only one-word answers if they bring him to camp.

“It’s not about them,” Chandler said to Coro about Suns executives. “That’s no offense to Ryan [McDonough], the GM, or the owner. Players play for players and the coaches. You’ve got a bond. Management has nothing to do with anything that goes on when you’re on the court. That’s just my thoughts. I’m not saying this for anything against Keef either. He’s a man and he has to go through his own process. But he can be special and I know he will. I feel like all this stuff will be forgotten once we kick off and we’re having success.”

See more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers announced a nine-month recovery timetable when Kobe Bryant had surgery to repair his torn right rotator cuff in January, which would have made his return in time for camp a close call, but he’s been medically cleared for all basketball activities, Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding hears.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr is high on what Steve Nash can bring as a part-time player development consultant for the team, though he cautioned in an interview with Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group that the deal to hire him for that role isn’t official. Kerr added that he won’t ask Nash to return to play, as the Mavs reportedly considered doing. “In Phoenix we grew very close and he’s probably the smartest basketball player I’ve ever been around in my life, not only the way he played but the way he prepared and trained and thought about the game,” Kerr said to Kawakami. “I just felt like if we could just get him to help out, just be around our guys occasionally and develop relationships, spend some time on the floor with them occasionally, it’d be a big help.”
  • Kerr expressed his desire for continuity, though he does envision a role for trade acquisition Jason Thompson, as he said to Kawakami for the same piece. The coach was also quick to point to his fondness to James Michael McAdoo, who has only a partially guaranteed deal with the Warriors.