Any NBA head coach’s number one priority should be creating and maintaining a good relationship with his team’s biggest star.
Brooklyn Nets new head coach Steve Nash is already ahead of the game in that regard. Nash and Kevin Durant don’t just have a solid working relationship — the two are actually friends.
Their relationship goes way back. The two forged a bond with each other during Durant’s tenure in Golden State. Nash was a consultant with the Warriors during their championship years while Durant was there. That’s one of the reasons the Nets hired him despite his reluctance to coach, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
Nash, 46, comes with no coaching experience, but he has a history of leadership, basketball IQ and playing innovation. He also brings a strong relationship with Nets star Kevin Durant, forged together in his consultant role with the Golden State Warriors.
Not only did Nash work with Durant while he consulted for the Warriors, but he was also one of the people who actually convinced the Nets forward to make the jump from Oklahoma City to Golden State, per the Mercury News
“Yeah, as I was making my decision… I trust his judgment on stuff. He’s always kept it real with me. He wasn’t recruiting me or anything, he just let me know how it is here… I wouldn’t say he made the decision for me, but he made me feel good about it.”
Then, when you add in Nash’s experience playing the same position Kyrie Irving plays at a higher level, his hire here starts to make a bit of sense. Irving and Nash also apparently have had a relationship for years, per ESPN’s Marc Spears.
New Nets head coach Steve Nash has the “confidence” of Kevin Durant and the backing of Kyrie Irving after having a relationship with both for years. On KD, Nash told @TheUndefeated: “He’s one of the greatest players I’ve ever seen and to have his confidence is really important.”
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) September 3, 2020
The hire is still out of the blue and there were definitely more qualified and safer candidates out there, but for these two stars — especially Durant — Nash seems to be the right call.
Hopefully for the Nets, it works out.