Steve Nash moves on to next act after Nets offseason drama
MIAMI—Steve Nash lived through the shenanigans that make the NBA so deliciously dramatic during his 18-season Hall of Fame career and, more recently, during his two-plus seasons as Brooklyn head coach net.
That’s why last summer, when the Nets were seemingly engulfed in near-daily drama surrounding two of their stars, Nash’s first reaction was something like, “Yeah, okay. What’s new? »
He patiently sat back, waited for the next episode to begin, and knew that in terms of the theatrics that comes with the 24/7/365 coverage of the league and its marquee players, a lot of old is new again.
« I think, from the outside, it can be such a burning issue and anyone can dramatize it, » Nash said of the all-summer controversy that centered around the stars. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. “From the inside, this stuff happens all the time in the league. We kind of have a short memory, and then we go straight to the next drama.
« For me, it always felt like it was part of the NBA, it happens all the time. It’s happened in the past. It was just…we just needed to sit down at some point. C was that. (And) that’s kind of what happened.
The Nets’ offseason ran the gamut of current NBA drama. Durant asked to be traded, at least according to the story, and then wanted Nash and Nets general manager Sean Marks fired before he returned. Irving and the Nets couldn’t come to an agreement on a long-term contract that would include a games played clause and he eventually settled on a deal that will make him a free agent next summer. Durant settled his issues after a conversation with Marks and Brooklyn owner Joe Tsai, and all was well with the world.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse watched from afar with a there-but-for-the-grace-of-god-will-I attitude. He has known Nash for more than 20 years, counts him among his friends and, although Nurse has never had to deal with Nash’s public bickering, the Raptors coach might feel for his colleague.
« When it’s a guy you know, sure, you probably always pay a little more attention, when it’s someone you consider a friend. » said the nurse. “Certainly, it is difficult. This work is hard. This job is tough. This stuff just makes it harder. I think he handled it with a lot of composure and class and all that kind of stuff. He does an excellent job.
If Nash and the Nets overcome any lingering summer resentment, if any, they have a chance to be an elite team this season. And despite the turmoil of July and August, Nash sees it happening.
« We are a team that needs time, » he said. “We have a real ignition (Ben Simmons) for our team that has just completed a year and a half of non-NBA basketball. We have a group of guys trying to learn to play together. But inside our facility, we really feel good about what we’re building. The guys were outstanding. »
One of the hardest parts of being an NBA head coach is dealing with the off-court issues, the personalities, and managing the stories that most teams would rather keep in-house. This happens to some degree with every team – there are always agendas at stake – and in this age of relentless ‘cover’, putting out fires is often as important as developing attacking and defensive plans.
Coaches know all the egos and personalities they have to balance and the importance of private conversations.
“You definitely try to do it with the guys, one on one, but then it boils over and you have to deal with some of that as well,” Nurse said. “It’s part of a very difficult job, I think. Just do it. You have to do your job.
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