Posts Tagged ‘Steve Nash’

The final days of a disappointing Brooklyn Nets season ended not with Ben Simmons on the floor with his teammates, but on the floor of his home, the pain from a back injury shooting through his lower body.

The Nets would go on to get swept by the Boston Celtics, with Simmons having back surgery shortly thereafter. While Simmons was rehabbing in the summer, Kevin Durant requested a trade — unless coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks were fired.

Nash wasn’t sacked, nor was he even shaken.

“Knowing Kevin as long as I have, it didn’t really bother me the way maybe everyone would think,” Nash said. “That’s a part of being a competitor, that I wasn’t like overly surprised and I wasn’t even overly concerned. It was just something that I thought we would address in time and we did, and here we are and we’re looking forward.”

The Nets opened training camp Tuesday with Simmons finally on the floor with his teammates, wearing a new number. But the book wasn’t closed on 2021-22 just yet, not with Nash first having to revisit the tumultuous summer.

He and Durant have had a lengthy relationship: Nash was a consultant with Golden State during Durant’s stint with the team. When the Hall of Fame point guard was hired as Nets coach in 2020, despite no experience, it was assumed that the superstar player had weighed in.

So it was shocking when reports surfaced that Durant wanted him out, except to Nash.

“You know, I never thought that was 100%. There’s a lot of things that it’s not black and white like that,” Nash said. “So there’s a lot of factors, a lot of things behind the scenes, a lot of things that are reported are not accurate. A lot of things that are reported are not 100% accurate, so you get fragmented bits of truth, things that are flat-out not true.”

Nash said he knew he would talk to Durant at some point, and they did meet in August, along with Marks and owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, where they decided to continue together. Nash wouldn’t specify what was said to get Durant back on board.

“But it was an opportunity for us to clear the air and just communicate and it was pretty straightforward,” Nash said. “Didn’t take a lot of time and got to bottom of it and decided to move forward.”

Durant pointed to how poorly the Nets played while he was sidelined by a knee injury in January and February as one of the reasons for his frustration, saying the team wasn’t respected by its opponents. That was confirmed Tuesday by newcomer Markieff Morris, who played with Miami last season.

“I agree with what he said. They were soft,” Morris said. “Point blank. When we played against them, they were soft. Just go right in their chest. That’s what we did.”

Having Simmons should help. He was an All-Defensive first-team pick in his final two seasons in Philadelphia, with the size and strength to guard all five positions.

“He’s strong as hell,” Morris said.

Simmons sat out training camp last year after deciding he would no longer play in Philadelphia for mental health reasons. The 76ers eventually sent him to Brooklyn in February in a deal headlined by James Harden, but the 2016 No. 1 draft pick’s back problems flared up soon after he arrived.

It turned out Simmons had a herniated disk and had a procedure to remove a portion of it in the offseason.

“I don’t think people really realized where I was at,” Simmons said. “That day I was supposed to play Game 4, I woke up on the floor. Couldn’t move, could barely walk.”

He does exercises to manage the back pain and also said he takes daily steps to improve his mental health.

“That’s just working on yourself and I feel like everybody has dark days, but when you’re able to address it and you’re able to work toward a place to where you need to be, that’s where I am,” Simmons said.

Most importantly for the Nets, he’s finally out there alongside Durant. Nobody could be certain that would happen in the summer, though Nash never believed Durant had closed the door.

“It was never really as big a deal to me,” Nash said. “I always thought we’ve have our moment, discuss it and choose a course, and we’re fortunate to all be in the gym working again.”

Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai has pledged his support of the coaching staff and front office after Kevin Durant reportedly demanded that the team trade him or fire head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks

Tsai took to Twitter on Monday, saying, “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

Durant’s ultimatum is apparently a result of his lack of faith in the team’s direction, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported earlier Monday. The 33-year-old is firm in his stance, Charania adds.

The former MVP requested a trade at the end of June following a disappointing season that ended in a first-round exit. Little was known at the time about his reasons for the decision.

The Nets have reportedly had discussions with nearly every team in the league in hopes of getting a historic package of players and draft picks in return for Durant. Brooklyn reportedly proposed a trade with the Toronto Raptors involving Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes and talked about a deal with the Boston Celtics that would include star Jaylen Brown.

The Raptors, Celtics, and Miami Heat are seen as the most likely trade destinations for Durant, sources told Charania.

The Nets aim to take “every last asset” from their trade partner in any deal for Durant, according to Charania.

Nash, a Hall of Fame point guard, has been at the helm of the Nets for two seasons. It is his first job in professional coaching. Meanwhile, Marks has held the position of general manager since 2016 after being an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs.

Entering his first season as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, Steve Nash is well aware his success will largely be determined by how far he can lead his team into the postseason.

“We’re playing for a championship. I don’t want to say anything less than a championship isn’t a success … but we are playing for a championship, and we are going to build accordingly,” Nash said during a virtual town hall appearance on Tuesday, courtesy of ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

Nash was hired by the Nets in early September despite having never coached in the NBA. The former back-to-back MVP winner is set to take over a roster headlined by a now-healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Durant and Irving have previously expressed optimism surrounding the Nets’ surprise hire. The former stated he believes Nash will build a “fun culture in Brooklyn,” while Irving recently touched on his “respectful relationship” with Nash. Durant notably worked alongside the 46-year-old while he was a consultant with the Golden State Warriors.

poses for a portrait at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 7, 2018 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Amid criticism over his lack of experience relative to some of the NBA’s longtime assistant coaches, Steve Nash offered an assessment of his rapid ascent from part-time player development consultant to head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

“Well, I did skip the line, frankly,” Nash said during his introductory press conference Wednesday, according to YES Network. “At the same time, I think leading an NBA team for almost two decades is pretty unique.”

Nash plied his trade in the league from 1996-2014, predominantly as the face of the Phoenix Suns. In addition to starting over 1,000 games and earning eight All-Star selections, the Canadian floor general captured back-to-back MVP trophies in 2005 and 2006. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2018.

“To lead a team is such a unique position,” Nash said. “To be the head of the team on the floor; to think on the fly; to manage personalities, people, and skill sets; to bring people together; to collaborate with a coach and a coaching staff for almost two decades – it’s not like I was in a vacuum.”

After retiring as a player, Nash took up a number of off-court pursuits, including working as an infrequent consultant with the Golden State Warriors and serving as general manager of Canada’s senior men’s national team.

The 46-year-old also addressed the notion that race may have played a role in his hiring. While acknowledging that he has “benefited from white privilege” in his life, Nash said he wasn’t sure his hiring “is an example that purely fits that conversation.”

Some pundits have been critical of Nash’s hiring, which resulted in interim head coach Jacque Vaughn, who is Black, returning to an assistant coach role. Former Suns owner and executive Jerry Colangelo came to his former franchise player’s defense over the weekend.

“He didn’t create (the disproportionate number of Black coaches in the NBA),” Colangelo told the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy on Sunday. “He was offered an opportunity, and he’s a big boy. He understood what saying ‘yes’ might cause or create certain kinds of speculation. But he was willing to do that.”

The 80-year-old added: “We’re just living in a very precarious time and every decision is looked at with a microscope and race is brought into it. Sometimes it’s justified, sometimes it’s not.”

Former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo understands the concerns about equitable hiring practices after the Brooklyn Nets selected the relatively inexperienced Steve Nash as the team’s next head coach, but he doesn’t “think it’s fair” to blame Phoenix’s former franchise star for experienced Black coaches being passed up.

“He didn’t create (the disproportionate number of Black coaches in the NBA),” Colangelo told the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy. “He was offered an opportunity, and he’s a big boy, he understood what saying ‘yes’ might cause or create certain kinds of speculation. But he was willing to do that.

“Certainly the same with (Nets general manager Sean Marks), he knew in hiring Steve he was potentially opening himself up. But he chose to do it. And so you have to honor that. We’re just living in a very precarious time and every decision is looked at with a microscope and race is brought into it. Sometimes it’s justified, sometimes it’s not.”

While many who were considered prime candidates to become first-time head coaches have logged years of assistant coaching experience on NBA staffs – such as the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ime Udoka or the Dallas Mavericks’ Jamahl Mosley – Nash hasn’t built much of a track record since ending his playing career in 2013-14.

The two-time MVP worked as a player-development consultant with the Golden State Warriors in recent years, though ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski characterized his presence as “infrequent.” Nash also served as general manager of Canada’s senior men’s national team until 2019 before shifting into an advisory role.

Ultimately, Colangelo believes the verdict on the Nash hiring will come down to how the Nets perform.

“If (Nash) is successful, one can look back and say, it didn’t matter that he doesn’t have any experience,” Colangelo said. “If he struggles, you look at that box that was unchecked and say, ‘well, the inexperience really cost him.’ So it’s an unknown, it’s a big unknown. It’s a gamble but probably a good gamble because of all his attributes.”

Colangelo added that he hopes the remaining coaching vacancies will “be filled by the best candidates – and in most cases they will probably come from that group of Black coaches who are available.”

In hiring Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash as the team’s head coach Thursday, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks believes he’s installed a leader who fits what star players Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are looking for on the sidelines.

“They wanted a great communicator,” Marks told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “They wanted someone they would respect. …

“A lot of this relationship will be built off the court. A lot of what I know of Steve is as the ultimate communicator. That’s what the guys asked for … a communicator … and that’s what they got.”

Nash and Durant have a prior professional relationship, of course; after Nash’s playing career ended in 2013-14, the 46-year-old worked as a player development consultant with Durant’s former team, the Golden State Warriors.

Owing to his stature as a two-time MVP and his reputation as one of the great on-court leaders of his generation, Nash should have little trouble connecting with his players in Brooklyn, according to his former boss in Golden State.

“Steve Nash has the ability to walk out onto the court and earn the immediate respect of Kevin Durant or Steph Curry or Klay Thompson – and there aren’t too many people in the world who can do that,” Warriors president Bob Myers told Wojnarowski. “More than that, though, he can communicate with them effectively and efficiently.”

The Brooklyn Nets named Hall of Fame guard Steve Nash their next head coach, the team announced Thursday.

Nash signed a four-year contract, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Jacque Vaughn, who took over coaching duties on an interim basis after Kenny Atkinson’s dismissal, will remain with the club as Nash’s lead assistant.

“After meeting with a number of highly accomplished coaching candidates from diverse backgrounds, we knew we had a difficult decision to make,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “In Steve we see a leader, communicator, and mentor who will garner the respect of our players. I have had the privilege to know Steve for many years.

“One of the great on-court leaders in our game, I have witnessed firsthand his basketball acumen and selfless approach to prioritize team success. His instincts for the game, combined with an inherent ability to communicate with and unite players towards a common goal, will prepare us to compete at the highest levels of the league.”

The Nets represent Nash’s first foray into coaching following an 18-year career that ended in 2014. The 46-year-old had served as a player development consultant with the Golden State Warriors since 2015.

Nash was never publicly reported as a candidate for the Nets’ head coaching role. However, Marks had quietly targeted him for some time, three sources told The New York Times’ Marc Stein. Marks reportedly set his sights on the retired two-time MVP due in part to Nash’s relationship with Nets star Kevin Durant following the pair’s time together in Golden State.

When the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Steve Nash during the 2012 offseason, he was supposed to be one of the final pieces to their championship puzzle.

Instead, injuries slowed the Hall of Famer during his two seasons with the purple and gold, and Nash isn’t sure things would’ve worked out even if he was healthy.

“I don’t think it was a great fit,” said Nash on the latest edition of “The Bill SimmonsPodcast.” “It was a great idea, it was a great opportunity … I broke my knee in the first or second game, whenever it was. I’m still not the same.”

Nash noticed the Lakers’ core wasn’t the force it used to be, despite the team being just a couple of years removed from back-to-back NBA titles.

To complicate matters, fellow newcomer Dwight Howard was focused on posting up rather than running the pick-and-roll that better suited the Lakers’ roster at the time.

“I don’t know if his back (was hurting), (but) he didn’t want to move around that much, or what,” Nash said. “But he wanted to prove that he could play in the post. The unfortunate thing is it was just getting to that era where teams could just cheat in and out of the paint enough that it made it hard (to play that way).

“Anyways, you add it all up, I don’t know that it would have ever worked. It was doomed.”

Nash averaged 11.4 points and 6.4 assists across 65 appearances for the Lakers before retiring in March 2015. He intended to play out the 2014-15 campaign, but the veteran was ruled out for the season after aggravating his back during the preseason.

Los Angeles was eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs during Nash’s first year, and the team stumbled to a 27-55 record during his last NBA season.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame unveiled its list of 2018 nominees for enshrinement, including several no-brainer, first-ballot cases.

As expected, Jason KiddSteve Nash, and Ray Allen will be on the ballot, the latter two included earlier than expected due to the Hall’s recently revised eligibility requirements. They will be joined by three other nominees on the men’s side, each with distinct ties to the Detroit PistonsGrant HillChauncey Billups, and Richard “Rip” Hamilton.

Holdover nominees from include Chris Webber, Ben Wallace, Muggsy Bogues, Maurice Cheeks, Tim Hardaway, and Sidney Moncrief.

Notably absent from the ballot is Rasheed Wallace, inextricably linked with the mid-2000s Pistons. Billups, Hamilton, and Ben Wallace can all credit their strong cases to having played on those teams, including the franchise’s surprising title win in 2004.

On the women’s side, WNBA greats Becky Hammon, Katie Smith, Tina Thompson, and Teresa Weatherspoon are on the ballot, as well as Kim Mulkey nominated for both her playing days at Louisiana Tech and her storied coaching tenure at Baylor.

Former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino, who passed away in August at 82 years old, is also on the ballot. He led the Wildcats to a 355-241 record from 1973-92, including the program’s first national championship in 1985.

Comparing modern-day athletes to the stars of yesteryear is a sports tradition, but Steve Kerr took that the extra mile Thursday.

In heaping praise upon his point guard Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors coach made two separate comparisons that shed light on how Kerr views Curry’s ascension over the last few years.

“I’ve said it many times, he reminds me so much of Tim Duncan,” Kerr said, according to 95.7 The Game’s John Dickinson. “He’s got this incredible package of skill, arrogance, and humility. That’s a weird combination.”

While Duncan and Curry play vastly different positions, their influence over their respective championship teams was, and is, unquestioned. When the Warriors rose to prominence in 2014, one of the most automatic analogies was to compare them to the “:07 Seconds or LessPhoenix Suns squads of the mid-2000s, led by Steve Nash.

As such, Kerr reiterated something he’s said in the past, that Curry is a more bionic version of Nash. “Steph is like Nash on steroids,” the coach said. “He’s faster and quicker and he’s shooting from 35 feet instead of 25 feet.”

While Curry remains the Warriors’ catalyst, it’s difficult to see him winning a third NBA MVP award on a roster that now features Kevin Durant. He’s still in solid aforementioned company however – like both Duncan and Nash, collecting two Maurice Podoloff Trophies.