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Stein: Nets expected to hire Igor Kokoskov as assistant

Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Mavericks' assistant coach Igor Kokokshov may soon serve as an assistant to Steve Nash, according to Marc Stein...

On Monday, Stein added to his tweet, noting the connection Steve Nash:

The news I reported Saturday about Igor Kokoškov’s forthcoming move from Jason Kidd’s coaching staff in Dallas to Steve Nash’s in Brooklyn is bound to surprise some around the league because of Kokoškov’s history with Mavericks star Luka Dončić. Kokoškov indeed teamed with Dončić and Goran Dragić to lead Slovenia to a stunning EuroBasket championship in September 2017, before Dončić’s final season with Real Madrid and his jump to the NBA in 2018-19, but the Serbian coach also has a longstanding closeness to Nash after coaching him in Phoenix as a Suns assistant under Alvin Gentry.

Kokoshov, who has 30 years of coaching experience overseas and in the NBA, has a handful of connections to the Nets. He served as an assistant coach (2008-2012) when Nash played in Phoenix. The Serbian native also served an as an assistant (2013-14) with the Cavaliers when Kyrie Irving was in Cleveland.

Kokoshov was the head coach of Slovenia’s Cinderella national team that won gold in the 2017 FIBA EuroBasket. There, he coached Nets free agent guard Goran Dragic along with Luka Doncic. And more recently as coach of the Serbian national team, he worked with fellow Serb Nikola Milutinov, the 7-footer whose rights the Nets acquired in the Spencer Dinwiddie trade.

In addition to the Serbian and Slovenian national teams, Kokoskov had been head coach of the Georgian national team for seven years.

In the NBA, the 50-year was head coach of the Suns for one season. He has also been an assistant for the Clippers, Pistons (where he won an NBA title), Suns, Cavs, Magic, Jazz, Kings and Mavs. He was the first European-born NBA assistant when he was hired by the Clippers in 2000 and first European-born head coach when he hired by the Suns in 2018.

After Kokoshov left the Kings in 2020, there were reports the Nets reached out to him, but he decided to become the head coach of Fenerbahce in Turkey instead. After a year there, he returned to the U.S. with Mavs where he coached Doncic again as an assistant.

Alex Schiffer laid out just how much Nash appreciates Kokoskov...

Amid reported turmoil in the Nets coaching staff — Amar’e Stoudemire has announced he won’t be back and Stein previously reported Adam Harrington and David Vanterpool are both out — several names have been floated as possible additions: James Borrego, the recently ousted head coach of the Hornets; Phil Handy, an assistant with Lakers who has tied to Kyrie Irving; and Adam Caporn, who was head coach of the Long Island Nets and has reputation for development built in Australia.