In some surprising news before the Draft and beginning of free agency, Mike D’Antoni, the Nets assistant coach and Steve Nash’s mentor, is “stepping away from a full-time coaching role” with Brooklyn, Adrian Wojnarowski reported in a tweet Wednesday morning...
Brooklyn Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni is stepping away from a full-time coaching role on Steve Nash’s staff, sources tell ESPN. D’Antoni is expected to pursue head coaching jobs again in the future. He was a finalist for the Portland opening this year.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 28, 2021
There was no further word on why D’Antoni, hired last year, was moving on, nor what role he will role with the team going forward. However, later Wednesday, Mike Scotto of Hoopshype, said Brian Keefe, the veteran assistant coach, is a “name to monitor” as a replacement.
With Mike D’Antoni leaving his role as an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets, former Thunder assistant coach Brian Keefe is a name to monitor as a potential replacement. Keefe coached Kevin Durant, James Harden, Jeff Green, and Nets assistant coach Royal Ivey in Oklahoma City.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) July 28, 2021
Marc Berman of the Post who covered D’Antoni when he was with the Knicks, suggested in a tweet that there were “challenges” in dealing with the “Big Three” ...
Mike D'Antoni enjoyed living in Brooklyn well enough. His decision to leave as Nets assistant to sit out a season speaks to challenges of managing a Kyrie Irving-Kevin Durant-James Harden triumverate— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) July 28, 2021
Later, Woj talked to ESPN’s “The Jump” about the “grind” of being an assistant coach...
Woj on The Jump on Mike D’Antoni: “He came in and helped Steve Nash through that first season as a head coach. He’d like to be a head coach’s again but I don’t think he wants to do the day-to-day grind of being an assistant.”— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) July 28, 2021
Says D’Antoni might be more open to hands-off work.
D’Antoni is the second coaching loss of the post-season for Brooklyn. The Celtics hired the Nets defensive coordinator, Ime Udoka, earlier in the month. David Vanterpool, the respected associate head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, was hired to replace Udoka. D’Antoni and Udoka had been hired to help Nash in his rookie season as a head coach.
Later Wednesday, Nash put out a statement expressing his gratitude for D’Antoni’s help...
D’Antoni, who developed the Suns’ “7 Seconds or Less” offense with Nash 15 years ago, had been the head coach of the Rockets before he took the Nets job. He had previously served as head coach in Phoenix, New York and Los Angeles with he Lakers. He has a head coaching record of 718-555, taking NBA 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.
Prior to his NBA career, D’Antoni had a stellar coaching career in Europe, where he had also played for more than a decade.
Woj also noted that the Nets have tendered a qualifying offer to Bruce Brown, making him a restricted free agent, permitting the Nets to match any offer he may get elsewhere.
Brooklyn has tendered guard Bruce Brown a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 28, 2021
The news was expected in advance of the start of NBA free agency at 6 p.m. Monday. Bobby Marks added that any large package for Brown would be fraught with significant luxury tax consequences.
QO on Brown is $4,736,102— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 28, 2021
Brown has full bird rights and Brooklyn can bring him back despite being over the salary cap and deep into the luxury tax.
However, signing Brown to a $10M contract for example would cost BKN an extra $36M toward the luxury tax. https://t.co/dY5dkxEUSb
- Mike D’Antoni to step away from Nets coaching staff: Sources - The Athletic