Nets hire Hall of Famer Nash as head coach

The Brooklyn Nets named Hall of Famer and two-time league MVP Steve Nash as the National Basketball Association franchise's 23rd head coach on Thursday.
Nets hire Hall of Famer Nash as head coach

Steve Nash

The Brooklyn Nets hired Steve Nash as their coach on Thursday, putting the Hall of Fame point guard in charge of the National Basketball Association team that hopes to have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving together next season.

Nash, two-time MVP as the engineer of the high-scoring Phoenix Suns teams under Mike D'Antoni, had been a player development consultant with the Golden State Warriors, where he worked with Durant.

“Coaching is something I knew I wanted to pursue when the time was right, and I am humbled to be able to work with the outstanding group of players and staff we have here in Brooklyn," Nash said in a statement.

The Nets finished the season under Jacque Vaughn, who they said would remain on staff as Nash's lead assistant. Canadian Nash is the franchise's 23rd head coach.

The Nets reached the postseason despite having Irving for only 20 games and Durant for none, but the two stars who came to Brooklyn together last summer are expected to be ready for the 2020-21 season.

That made the Nets vacancy an attractive position, and General Manager Sean Marks said he met with a number of highly accomplished candidates. There was even speculation the Nets would try to entice Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, for whom Marks played and then worked under in San Antonio.

Instead, Marks turned to one of his former teammates.

“In Steve we see a leader, communicator and mentor who will garner the respect of our players," Marks said. “I have had the privilege to know Steve for many years. One of the great on-court leaders in our game, I have witnessed firsthand his basketball acumen and selfless approach to prioritize team success.”

Vaughn finished up the season after the Nets surprisingly parted ways with Kenny Atkinson on March 7. He led Brooklyn to the No. 7 in the Eastern Conference despite coming to the restarted season in Disney without many of his top players and Marks had indicated he would be a candidate to keep the job.

Instead, he goes back to his former position as a Nets assistant.

“Jacque has been an integral part of our program and a key contributor to the growth and development of our entire organization," Marks added. "His role in developing our players both on and off the court and his influence driving our culture have been invaluable.

This is his first head coaching job. Nash, 46, signed a four-year contract with the Nets, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 2018 Hall of Fame inductee played point guard for 18 seasons in the NBA from 1996-97 to 2013-14. The eight-time All-Star earned back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards with the Phoenix Suns in 2004-05 and 2005-06, becoming just the 10th player to win the award in consecutive seasons.

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