Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash was named coach of the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, taking charge of a team with All-Star playmakers Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks reacted to the appointment by tweeting: “Not many things in the NBA would get me to say ‘holy s***’. The Steve Nash hiring just did.”
Nash takes on his first coaching job after five years as player development co-ordinator for the Golden State Warriors, where he served as a consultant for a team that won two NBA crowns and made four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals.
“Coaching is something I knew I wanted to pursue when the time was right and I’m humbled to be able to work with the outstanding group of players and staff we have here in Brooklyn,” Nash said.
“I am as excited about the prospects of the team on the court as I am about moving to Brooklyn with my family and becoming impactful members of this community.”
The 46-year-old Canadian will try and revive a Nets team that has won only one playoff series since 2007. The Nets made first-round playoff exits the past two seasons.
Nash worked with 2014 league MVP and 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals MVP Durant while with the Warriors. Durant missed the entire 2019-20 season while healing from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in last year’s NBA Finals before he left Golden State for Brooklyn.
Reuniting with the superstar could provide the boost team owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks seek for the Nets.
“Steve shares our vision for the future of this franchise and his character exemplifies the core principles of our organisation in working to serve our communities,” Tsai said.
Nash was an eight-time NBA All-Star guard who played 18 seasons with the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, capturing back-to-back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006 playing for Phoenix.
He ranks third on the all-time assists list with 10,335.
“In Steve, we see a leader, communicator and mentor who will garner the respect of our players,” Marks said. “One of the great on-court leaders in our game, I have witnessed first-hand his basketball acumen and selfless approach to prioritise team success.
“His instincts for the game, combined with an inherent ability to communicate with and unite players towards a common goal, will prepare us to compete at the highest levels of the league.”
Nash, inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018, will have Jacque Vaughn return as his top assistant coach.
The Nets, who had only 20 games this season from oft-injured Irving, went 5-3 in the NBA’s bubble restart under Vaughn — who replaced coach Kenny Atkinson in March — before being swept by Toronto in the first round of the playoffs.
Nash served as general manager of the Canadian national team from 2012-2019.