Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash was fired by the club on Tuesday, paying the price for the team’s sluggish start to the new season.
Nash’s position had been under scrutiny for days, with reports stating he had lost the confidence of the locker room after the team fell to 1-5 on Saturday with a 125-116 home loss to Indiana.
“We want to thank Steve for everything he brought to our franchise over the past two-plus seasons,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Personally, this was an immensely difficult decision; however, after much deliberation and evaluation of how the season has begun, we agreed that a change is necessary at this time.”
Nets owner Joe Tsai meanwhile thanked Nash for his contribution, stating that he had brought “hard work and positive attitude” during a reign that included “periods of exceptional storm” around the team.
Speculation about Nash’s future had raged in the wake of last weekend’s loss to the Pacers, which led the Canadian coach to openly question the character of the Nets roster, which is spearheaded by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
“That was a disaster. I didn’t see the will, didn’t see the desire,” Nash said following that loss.
“We’ve got to look deep, deep inside ourselves and what we want to do, what we want to accomplish?
“Do we want to give up on this because it’s been difficult early, or do we want to stay the course and start to build something?”
Although the Nets bounced back from Saturday’s loss to beat the Pacers 116-109 on Monday, the team remain in 12th place in the Eastern Conference with a 2-5 record.
The 48-year-old Nash, a Hall-of-Famer, and two-time NBA MVP, was installed as Nets coach in September 2020.
However his short-lived tenure was mostly frustrating, with the team losing in the conference semi-finals in 2020-2021 before being swept 4-0 by Boston in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
More tellingly, tensions between Nash and star player Durant flared into the open during the pre-season.
Durant reportedly told team owners that either they fire Nash and Marks or grant him a trade away from Brooklyn.
That ultimatum ended with clear the air talks that saw all parties remain in Brooklyn for the start of the new season.
Nash insisted that he and Durant were “on the same page” as the season got under way, characterising the rift with the Nets star as a family dispute.
“Families go through things like this,” Nash said in September.
“You go through adversity, you go through disagreements.”
On Tuesday Nash thanked Tsai and Marks for hiring him for what he described as “an amazing experience with many challenges.”
“I wish the Nets all the success in the world and the Nash’s will be rooting for our team as they turn this season around,” he said.
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