Kevin Durant endorse Steve Nash as Nets head coach despite first round exit

Steve Nash Nets
Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash talks to forward Kevin Durant (7) during the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns at Barclays Center.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

First, a report on Monday suggested that Steve Nash’s job as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets was safe and then he got the backing of the franchise’s most important player. 

Kevin Durant offered his support for the Nets’ second-year head coach Monday night after the team was unceremoniously bounced from the playoffs in four games by the Boston Celtics. It marked the second consecutive season in which the Nets have fallen well short of the expectations that were laid upon them at the beginning of the year and plenty of people have started to point fingers at where things have gone wrong. 

Part of the blame game has led some to call for the ousting of Nash, but not Durant, who has a deep relationship with him. 

“I mean, come on, now,” Durant said when asked if Nash still had his support. “Yeah. 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.”

The comment was a good sign for Nash since it is widely believed that Durant plays a large role in shaping how the organization operates. Though it’s sure to ruffle some feathers among the fans, who have watched a wild and whacky season play out during the 2021-22 campaign. 

And Nash, who has voiced his enjoyment of the job earlier this month, is hoping to be back as well next season along with the rest of his coaching staff. 

“Yeah, I loved doing this and love these guys, love my staff, love all the departments,” Nash said. “Really have a great working environment, really enjoyed it and want to continue doing it.”

The Nets will have plenty of work to do in the offseason to try and address some of the issues that plagued them this season. Nash had been dealt a pretty wild hand over the course of his second year as NBA head coach. 

The Nets suffered what turned out to be a season-ending injury to Joe Harris in November, Durant was sidelined in January for 21 games due to an injury, COVID decimated the roster in December and James Harden forced his way out of Brooklyn in February. 

On top of all that, Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status loomed over the Nets’ season all year. 

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As Nash has done this season, he tried to put a positive spin on the future of the organization, especially with Harris back next season and the Nets finally getting Ben Simmons on the floor. Both of whom would have helped the team during their first-round series against the Celtics. 

“I think 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,” Nash said. “Getting two of your top four guys back, two guys with size and one who is an All-Star and one who is one of the best shooters in the league. I think 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.”