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Dirk Nowitzki: Steve Nash a ‘natural leader with his positive attitude’

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash have long been best buds, even after Mark Cuban traded Nash to the Suns in what he admits was his worst move of his tenure as Mavericks owner.

As the Dallas Morning News points out, the two have a history of jousting...

So, no surprise, the future Hall of Famer believes his Hall of Fame friend will do quite well —and have a good time — as Nets head coach.

“That’s going to be a lot of fun [for Nash] and it’s a lot of challenges, but I think he’s up for it,” Nowitzki told Brad Townsend of the News. “To me he was always a natural leader, with his positive attitude.

“He was always the first one to slap people on the butts when things weren’t working. To me, he was one of the most positive teammates I’ve ever been around. I think he’s going to be great. He’ll learn more about the timeout situations, play-calling and stuff like that, but he already has what it takes to be a natural leader to me.”

Nowitzki, in his first comments since Nash got the Nets job, confirmed that he turned down his buddy’s offer to join Brooklyn as an assistant coach. The 6’11” NBA champion retired 18 months ago and he said he’s happy in retirement. Moreover, he said that if he returns to the NBA, it will be in Dallas, where he played his whole career.

“First of all, I don’t know if I could do it anywhere but here,” he said. “That’s of course first. Second, I just think the timing is not right. I love being with the family. I’m so over basketball at this point that it wasn’t even a thought for me...

“I’m sure that’ll come back again,” he said of his desire to return to the NBA. “Once I get past being over basketball, and I’m sure it’ll be in a few years, I’ll be super-excited again. But as of right now other things are just a little more important.”

Meanwhile, both former Suns GM Ryan McDonough and The Athletic’s Shams Charania essentially dismissed the comments that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant made about how Nets coaching will be more “collaborative.”

“It’s easy to grab the clip or the soundbite out of context. Everything I read and heard about it, there was more to it than (Irving saying he and Durant didn’t need a head coach),” McDonough said on in interview with The Putback. “It wasn’t a critical comment toward Steve Nash like, ‘Hey, he’s not ready for this.’ It was more, ‘We have a lot of player leadership on the roster.’”

Still, he noted as GM, he wished they had put things a bit differently.

“I think if you’re Sean Marks, you make the point (that the comments weren’t intended to disrespect Steve Nash). You say, ‘Look, Kyrie, Kevin, I know what you guys were trying to do. However, here’s the situation you created with a first time, inexperienced coach….

“It’s not a huge deal; it will die down. However, it will be helpful going forward if you can say, ‘Look, we back Steve. Steve’s our coach. We’ll fall in line behind him. We think we have great player leadership on this roster but he is our leader and we’re going to get in line and do whatever he tells us to do because we think he’s the guy to lead us to the next level.’”

Similarly, Charania said his sources didn’t see the comments as a big deal...