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Marks: Steve Nash first approached the Nets about head coaching job

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In a podcast interview with Adrian Wojnarowski, Sean Marks said that Steve Nash first approached the Nets about the job of head coach and that both of his superstars signed on with the hire because the Hall of Famer met their criteria ... being a “communicator” of “high character.”

Marks also said that the discussion about joining the Nets organization was an continuation of a 20-year conversation the two have had. Marks and Nash played two seasons together in Phoenix more than a decade ago, but they also competed against each other both in the NBA and in FIBA tournaments, Marks for New Zealand, Nash for Canada.

“I had talked to Steve about this over the last decade — about what life after basketball will look like for him and what endeavors he wanted to pursue,” said Marks. “I knew he’d be a tremendous asset to whatever team, whatever organization could bring him on board. This last summer it changed because the narrative was Steve searched me out when he knew the job was open, said ‘Look, I want to put my hat in the ring here.’ We started talking. It moved very quickly. But obviously excited to have a guy his caliber, his stature to be coming in here to lead this org forward.

Marks noted that he was not concerned about Nash’s lack of experience, that his five years with the Warriors organization —as a player development consultant— is a big positive.

“When you’ve been around a championship-type team like Golden State that has just been a juggernaut the last five, six years and being around a guy like Steve Kerr – an open communicator, high character guy – Steve would have certainly picked up some of Steve Kerr’s traits.”

Marks added that the coaching search was “very wide,” certainly wider than known. Basketball writers believed the search was at its beginning. Only one candidate, Jacque Vaughn, was reported to have been interviewed and that was earlier this week.

“We had a very diverse search,” Marks told Woj. “The net was extremely wide and I was humbled by the interest that we had for this position.”

On the role of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Marks said he had had many conversations with the two over the course of the NBA’s four-month hiatus.

“I think spending a year with Kevin and Ky for the most part sidelined enabled me to strike up a relationship and rapport with these guys,” he said. “We had a lot of conversations watching practice or post-games or even throughout the summer here and leading into these plays onto what we should be looking for what we need. Both expressed high character. They wanted a great communicator, they wanted someone they would respect. I think we hit the nail on the head with a hire like Steve.”

Marks expressed optimism about how his and Nash’s team is constructed and volunteered there may be other changes ahead.

“We have a lot of pieces here and probably pieces still to go, we’ll see how we build this out. But as Joe Tsai had mentioned before, and I love this quote ‘we need a conductor.’ That’s exactly what we need here and Steve’s the right guy ... His basketball IQ is off the charts.”

Regarding the depth of his relationship with Nash, Marks described the two as “close friends”

“We’ve had conversations dating back years and years now because we are close friends. We always do get together with the families and so forth. This one felt natural, not forced, It was a different tone with Steve,” he told Woj. “He has a lot at stake. We all do here. When he’s willing to sacrifice some of the livelihood. ..I know what’s at stake. There will be naysayers.

Marks also praised Jacque Vaughn, saying he will provide “continuity” that’s important to the players, Nash and him.

“Extremely important, I love the continuity we have with Jacque in place. But not only important to me but important to Steve. I want it. I’ve seen how Jacque coaches. That was led just as much by Steve as myself,” said Marks.

He expects that Nash and his superstars will have continuing conversations about basketball and other things.

“I look forward to hearing or seeing those conversations, Steve and Kyrie get together and talk about a lot of things. Honestly many of those things won’t even be on the court … 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 form a communicator and that’s what they got. We’ll see how it goes.”