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Steve Nash’s exit surprised even Nets players

Nets
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots against the Chicago Bulls, including Ayo Dosunmu (12) and Javonte Green (24), during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh

It was 1:15 p.m. when Nets superstar Kevin Durant woke up from a nap and turned on ESPN only to find out that the team had parted ways with head coach Steve Nash. Veteran Joe Harris said that he found out the news on Tuesday afternoon. 

Both Nets expressed their surprise at the situation following a 108-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night. Brooklyn had been off to a 2-5 start when Nash was let go with turmoil swirling both off and on the court. 

“You’re always shocked when a move like this happens,” Durant said. “But it’s normal in the NBA. It’s about getting ready for the game tonight. It’s a quick turn always in the league, especially during the season. You’ve got practice, games coming up, so you can’t think too much about it. It was on my mind for a little bit today.”

Harris added that everyone on the team had been surprised by the move, especially by the timing of it. The Nets had only been seven games into the season and had already been playing without their full lineup available to them.

“You play so many games in the NBA season where even if you are struggling as a team or individually early, you know you have a lot of games to fight and claw your way back. Certainly, surprised given the timing of it,” he said. 

Earlier in the day Nets general manager Sean Marks spoke with reporters and addressed the coaching situation. No players had been consulted before the organization made the decision about Nash. 

Durant also said that he had not been consulted beforehand. The Nets superstar had reportedly given the team an ultimatum during the offseason to fire Nash and Marks or trade him, which did not happen and eventually Durant rescinded the trade request. 

Nets
Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash is restrained after having a technical foul called on him during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, in Milwaukee.AP Photo/Morry Gash

That was just one of the many moments of drama that had engulfed Nash’s tenure as head coach, which everyone acknowledged when speaking about the now-former head coach. Nash did get the Nets to the playoffs twice, but had to deal with issues from COVID to injury to players wanting to be traded to one of their key players missing part of the season last year for refusing o get the COVID vaccine.

“Obviously, it’s been kind of a whirlwind three years for Steve,” Harris said. “We all love and appreciate Steve and everything he did for this organization and sometimes it’s a difficult business – coaches, players alike, but the head coach, it’s a similar situation with bigger companies and CEOs. This is what happens when things aren’t going as expected or not up to the level that the organization has set for itself and it’s unfortunate that he’s got to be the one to go.

“It’s obviously a lot more complex than that but this, he is the head of the organization.”

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Durant echoed a similar sentiment as well as said that he enjoyed the time that he had to work with Nash in Brooklyn.

“I mean, let’s be real. We’re pros. We’re veterans. You know, we had a tough start and a rocky year last year, rocky summer. We knew that everybody was being evaluated,” Durant said. “That’s just how it is in the league. So I liked working with Steve. I liked working with the coaching staff. It was a roller coaster the last few years. But you know, the core of it, basketball is something that we all love to do. So regardless of the coach, regardless of the circumstances, you still gotta come to work. So I enjoyed coming to work with Steve.”

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