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NETS ADD MIKE D’ANTONI, IME UDOKA AS ASSISTANTS TO STEVE NASH STAFF

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Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets - Game Five Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Nets have named Mike D’Antoni and Ime Udoka to be assistant coaches on Steve Nash’s staff. The team officially announced the hires Friday afternoon after Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news hours earlier in the day...

In addition, the Nets confirmed the hire of Amar’e Stoudemire and noted that four assistants from Kenny Atkinson’s staff will be retained: Adam Harrington, Jordan Ott, Tiago Splitter and Ryan Forehan-Kelly. Jacque Vaughn’s hiring as lead assistant had been announced at the same time as Nash’s back in early September. Two members of the Nets staff will not be returning: Bret Brielmaier, who had been Vaughn’s lead assistant in the “bubble” after Atkinson was dumped, and Travon Bryant, the Nets big man coach.

Here’s the official announcement of the staff with titles and a Nash comment:

The Brooklyn Nets announced today the hiring of Mike D’Antoni and Ime Udoka as assistant coaches and Amar’e Stoudemire as a player development assistant. They join assistant coach Jacque Vaughn, assistant coach/director of player development Adam Harrington, assistant coach Jordan Ott, assistant coach/player development Tiago Splitter and player development coordinator Ryan Forehan-Kelly on Head Coach Steve Nash’s staff.

“We’ve assembled an experienced staff of high-character individuals with varied backgrounds, both on and off the court, that will help create a solid foundation for me and our players,” said Nash. “When I set out to build this staff, I wanted to put together a committed group that would connect with our players and help put them in the best position to succeed as a team. With coaching and playing experience at the highest level and a deep background in player development, I’m confident that we’ve put the right people in place to lead us forward.”

D’Antoni, who developed the Suns’ “7 Seconds or Less” offense with Nash 15 years ago, had until September been the head coach of the Rockets. On September 13, the day after Houston lost the conference semifinals 4–1 to the Lakers, D’Antoni announced that he wouldn’t return to the team. He had previously served as head coach in Phoenix, New York and Los Angeles, with a final record of 718-55, taking coach of the year honors in 2005 and 2017. He also had a brief stint as associate head coach in Philadelphia. During his NBA head coaching career, D’Antoni has worked with a number of NBA superstars including of course Nash as well as Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. D’Antoni was also an assistant coach on the 2012 Olympic team that won the gold in London and included Kevin Durant.

Udoka, who has been interviewed for various head coaching jobs, spent last season in Philadelphia which has since had its own coaching shift. Prior to that, Udoka had been an assistant under Gregg Popovich for seven years in San Antonio. Udoka retired from the NBA in 2011 after being cut from Nets training camp roster after playing seven years in the league. He won a ring with the Spurs in 2014 when both he and Sean Marks were assistant coaches.

Jacque Vaughn, who led the Nets to a 5-3 record in the Orlando “bubble,” remains the lead assistant.

In a follow-up tweet, Woj noted...

Shams Charania reported last week that Amar’e Stoudemire, who played with Nash under D’Antoni in Phoenix, will also be joining the staff. Nash confirmed that in his Town Hall earlier in the week although there was no officiai announcement until Friday.

Nash praised D’Antonio in the Town Hall appearance when asked about how he plans to run his offense...

“People talk about the Phoenix teams I played on, and this sort of revolutionary tone of how it impacted the game, but the truth be told, Mike D’Antoni’s brilliance in much of that was he allowed it to evolve instead of getting in the way.”

When Nash was hired as Nets head coach seven weeks ago, D’Antoni said “Even when he broke his leg in L.A. [in 2012 while with the Lakers], no one outworked him, and he’ll do the same as a coach. And he knows basketball, so it’s a pretty good formula for success.

“Yeah, I’m excited for him. I’m excited that he’ll open the game up, and he’ll run, I’m sure. He’s going to work hard, and he’ll surround himself with smart people.”

Nash also said at the Town Hall that he intends to run an offense much like the one that he and Stoudemire ran under D’Antoni.

“I want us to play fast; I want us to space the floor. I want us to create opportunities to get downhill with our ball handlers and make plays for one another. Attack closeouts. A lot of high-level philosophical thoughts, and of course we’ll design and have offensive sets and things that we think fit our group, but we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves with the offense. We want it to stay pretty high-level right now.”

Udoka was in charge of the 76ers defense under Brett Brown in Philadelphia. Defense was also his calling card during his NBA career.