Steve Nash out as Nets coach amid Kyrie Irving saga, bad start
NEW YORK (AP) — Steve Nash is out as Brooklyn Nets coach after a disappointing start and more controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving.
The Nets announced Tuesday that they had parted ways with the Hall of Fame point guard, a day after they beat Indiana to improve to 2-5.
Nash made it to this season after Kevin Durant said he wanted him out this summer, but not much longer. The Nets have been another mess, with bad play on the court and bad headlines off it.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is the top candidate to replace Nash and could be announced as such within the next few days.
Udoka was suspended for the upcoming season after a months-long investigation by a law firm found multiple violations of team policies. A person with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press the violations were related to an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the organization. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details were not made public.
— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) November 1, 2022
The biggest — again — was created by Irving, who posted a link to an antisemitic work on his Twitter page last week, drawing criticism from Nets owner Joe Tsai.
“Since becoming head coach, Steve was faced with a number of unprecedented challenges, and we are sincerely grateful for his leadership, patience and humility throughout his tenure,” general manager Sean Marks said in a statement.
“Personally, this was an immensely difficult decision; however, after much deliberation and evaluation of how the season has begun, we agreed that a change is necessary at this time.”
Nash led the Nets to a 92-62 record and the playoffs in both full seasons, his first as an NBA coach. But they lost Irving and James Harden to injuries during their second-round loss to Milwaukee in 2021, then were a first-round flop last season after trading Harden during the middle of the season.
Most of their problems during the latter season were caused by Irving being unavailable for most of their home games because he refused to get vaccinated for the coronavirus, as mandated at the time in New York City.
Nash handled it all as best as possible, but apparently not good enough for his best player. Durant said he wanted to be traded this summer if the Nets didn’t fire Marks and Nash, but Tsai stood by them and Durant eventually pulled back his request.
But things started poorly this season and Nash gave some his hardest criticism of the team during his tenure after their loss to Indiana on Saturday night. Much of that was ignored because the focus was on Irving’s combative news conference defending his tweet, and the Nets beat the Pacers in the rematch Monday to end a four-game skid.
But Nash’s tenure ended anyway a day later, hours before Brooklyn is set to host Chicago.