A Nets team pegged as preseason title favorites was swept out of the playoffs with a humiliating first-round sweep. But signs point to Brooklyn coach Steve Nash’s job being safe.
A Substack report states that the team thinks much of what occurred to sabotage the Nets’ championship dreams was out of Nash’s control. And from Kevin Durant’s injury to Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated — which led to him missing over 50 games and James Harden demanding a trade — there was plenty.
It does appear Nash may be in Brooklyn going forward, not expected to be turned into a scapegoat for this disappointing season. Asked by The Post about his job security and if he thought he’d be around next year, he said he did.
“Yeah. I loved doing this and love these guys, love my staff, love all the departments. Really have a great working environment, really enjoyed it and want to continue doing it,” Nash said. “Ben Simmons and Joe Harris will give us a big lift and we’ll see how the rest of the roster rounds out, but we should be excited by that. Getting two of your top four guys back — two guys with size, one who’s an All-Star and one who’s one of the best shooters in the league — that gives us a big boost.
“That allows other guys to fall back into their natural positions where they don’t have to guard big guys every night or play too many minutes where they have to do too much against tall defenses where it can be very difficult for a bunch of guys giving up size at every position. So I think those guys will really help. Obviously the rest of the roster is very key as well and so we have this summer to work at that.”
And while obviously Nets owner Joe Tsai signs the checks and GM Sean Marks hires and fires, the biggest name in the franchise has had Nash’s back from the beginning. Nash worked out with Durant at the tail end of his playing career, saw him close up as a consultant in Golden State, and has had his backing in Brooklyn.
When asked after the 4-0 sweep at the hands of Boston whether Nash was still the man to lead the Nets, Kevin Durant scoffed.
“I mean, come on now. Yeah,” Durant said. “Steve’s been dealt a crazy hand the last two years. He’s had to deal with so much stuff as a head coach, a first-time coach: trades, injuries, COVID. It’s just a lot of stuff he’s had to deal with and I’m proud of how he’s focused and his passion for us. We all continue to keep developing over the summer and see what happens.”
It was conspicuous that Kyrie Irving — who’d said on Durant’s podcast before Nash was hired that the Nets didn’t really need a coach — talked about putting next year’s team together with Tsai and Marks, but didn’t mention Nash.
“You know, managing this franchise together alongside Joe and Sean and just our group of family members that we have in our locker room in our in our organization. … We have Ben [Simmons] and we have a few other guys that are on contract,” Irving said. “And I think we just got to make some moves this offseason and really talk about it and really be intentional about what we’re building.”