KD has re-committed for the long haul while Nash continues to have the backing of team owner Joe Tsai.
Former NBA player Eddie House, on “The Odd Couple” podcast, noted that superstars asking for the head coach’s head isn’t uncommon. He likened the Brooklyn Nets’ situation to the time LeBron James asked the Miami Heat to fire head coach Erik Spoelstra:
“It’s different when you’re a coach. If you cannot get the superstar guy to buy into what you are doing, it is almost a failed cause.
“On every single team I’ve played on, even the team I played on with Bron, they were this close, they wanted Spo [Spoelstra] out but Pat was like, ‘Hell, no! That’s my guy and we gonna win with him.’ It took another leader to say, ‘No, this is how it goes.’ That’s Pat Riley I’m talking about.”
Kevin Durant’s demand to have Steve Nash fired somewhat surprised the NBA as KD and Kyrie Irving practically hired him in the first place. Sure, there were times when he was out-coached by Ime Udoka in the 2022 playoffs against the Boston Celtics. But the Brooklyn Nets’ failure wasn’t entirely on Nash.
The dynamics between Nash, KD and Kyrie Irving could suddenly change as the season moves forward. If that becomes the case, Brooklyn will need a Pat Riley type of authority to quell any uprising, granted Nash does his job.
Fortunately for Steve Nash, Joe Tsai has got his back, at least for now. GM Sean Marks, another key name Durant wanted fired, has proven his ability to play hardball as well when needed.
Marks refused to cave into both KD and Irving’s demands this off-season.
The Brooklyn Nets’ situation is similar to the Miami Heat’s problem during LeBron James’ first season in South Beach a decade ago. The star-studded team struggled at the start of the 2010-11 season. James, Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh led Miami to a mediocre 9-8 record after 17 games.
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There was heat on Erik Spoelstra, but Pat Riley refused to budge and kept his protege. Spoelstra and the Miami Heat superstars eventually figured it out. They reached the 2011 NBA Finals where they lost to the Dallas Mavericks.
Trust will be key between Steve Nash and Kevin Durant for the Brooklyn Nets to compete
Kevin Durant and Steve Nash are professionals who know how to take a hit or two in their stride. They know how the relationship between a superstar and a head coach works in the NBA.
That being said, they’d have to renew their trust once next season starts if they want to make their partnership work. They’re just not going to be able to flip a switch and pretend Durant’s demand will be pushed under the rug quickly.
Throughout training camp and the 82-game regular-season schedule, KD and the former two-time MVP will need to be on the same page. Once Durant starts to question Steve Nash’s ability to coach or lead the Brooklyn Nets, it will promptly affect the entire team.
The Nets are probably the last team, barring maybe the LA Lakers, that needs more drama on their plate.