Despite the Nets disappointing season, Steve Nash remains safe as Brooklyn’s head coach, Marc Stein reports. Essentially, he writes, the franchise believes so much of what happened was simply beyond his control.
One source close to the situation told me over the weekend that he thinks Nash is likely to avoid being rendered management’s fall guy for the Nets’ meek playoff showing, noting how much madness (and, frankly, absurdity) that the former Hall of Fame point guard faced during his second season as a head coach.
Stein also enlisted Adrian Wojnarowski in his reporting on Nash, if more by omission than commission.
Also rather interesting: ESPN’s vaunted insider Adrian Wojnarowski, purported to know as much about the Nets as anyone outside the organization’s walls, didn’t say a single word about Nash or the Brooklyn coaching situation Sunday during an NBA Countdown appearance in which he was asked to assess the club’s most pressing offseason decisions. The enclosed YouTube clip teases an image of Nash ... but his status was never mentioned.
(There are some other news tips in the Woj interview like the Nets plan to use the two first rounders acquired in the Harden-for-Simmons trade as trade assets.)
Indeed, Woj spoke with Sean Marks on Saturday before Game 3, as we noted...
We spy Woj sitting courtside with Sean Marks. Waiting for Woj Bomb. pic.twitter.com/qutm4sN790— NetsDaily (@NetsDaily) April 23, 2022
Key to Nash’s longevity in the head coach’s chair, writes Stein, is that he retains good relations with Joe Tsai and Kevin Durant.
My personal sense is that Nets owner Joe Tsai is far too impulsive and unpredictable to read in terms of how he’ll react to a lopsided first-round ouster. Nash landed the Nets’ job with no prior coaching experience largely because he had the backing of Kevin Durant as well as the gravitas to manage a team built around the mercurial Durant and Kyrie Irving. There is no evidence in circulation — yet — to suggest that Nash is in some sort of jeopardy ... as long as he retains the support of Tsai and (more importantly) Durant.
Indeed, KD said two weeks ago that he thought Nash had done his job “perfectly.”
“I think he’s done a great job. The last two years, he’s been dealt a wild hand: injuries, trades, disgruntled players, guys in and out of the lineup, and stuff that he can’t control,” said KD on April 8. “I felt like he’s handled it the best as he could...
“It’s his first real opportunity as a coach. I think he’s handling it all perfectly, to be honest.”
While noting that Nash has his detractors, Stein lists all the issues he had to face in a strange year, much as KD did.
Irving didn’t become a full-time Net until late March. James Harden convinced the Nets they had no choice but to trade him after a marriage of just 13 months by showing up for the season in poor shape and steadily divorcing himself from the rest of the team. Ben Simmons has not logged one second of court time since the Nets acquired him as the headliner of the Harden trade surrender. Sharpshooter Joe Harris was limited to 14 games this season before undergoing season-ending ankle surgery in March. Nash, as a result, has tried nearly 45 different starting lineups.
Throw in a 21-game absence for Kevin Durant after a mid-January knee sprain, and the heavy minutes Durant was asked to play upon his return just to keep the Nets in the postseason mix, and you could make the case that Nash has faced the toughest circumstances of any coach in the league this season.
There is no timetable the Nets need to follow. Nash was signed to a four-year deal two years ago.
- What’s next for Nash and the Nets - Marc Stein - Steinline