AP Photo / Hakim Wright Sr.
Assuming the Brooklyn Nets are unable to topple a 3-0 deficit, head coach Steve Nash may not be the scapegoat for the team’s exit in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
NBA insider Marc Stein reported Monday that he spoke with a source who said Nash “will probably avoid being made the management’s downfall for the Nets’ meek playoff show, noting how much madness (and frankly, absurdity) the former Hall of Fame point guard faced in his second season as head coach. “
According to Stein, it appears that Nash has not yet lost faith in two key people in the organization – Governor Joe Tsai and star Kevin Durant:
“My personal feeling is that Nets owner Joe Tsai is too impulsive and unpredictable to read in terms of how he will react to a skewed exclusion in the first round. Nash landed the Nets’ job with no previous coaching experience, mainly because he had backed by Kevin Durant as well as gravitas to lead a team built around the mercurial Durant and Kyrie Irving.There is no evidence in circulation – yet – that suggests Nash is in any kind of danger … as long as he retains the support of Tsai and (more importantly) Durant. “
Someone is typically fired when a team experiences the kind of disappointment Brooklyn is almost doomed to suffer this year.
From the moment Durant was healthy enough to care, it was a championship-or-bust mindset for the Nets, and the acquisition of James Harden last season cemented those lofty goals. Now the franchise may have a bit to show for it from KD’s first two years on the field.
In situations like these, a coach change is made because it is the easiest handle to pull.
Frank Vogel did not really deserve to be fired for the Los Angeles Lakers’ 11th place, but what else would the organization do when it’s so wrapped up in the current list?
Nets have to some extent the same dilemma.
Trading with Harden meant a doubling of a star-studded squad, and turning him down for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and draft picks could have put them even worse.
nick wright @getnickwright
A shocking number of my colleagues called Harden-Simmons trade a clear victory for * the Nets *. I know because it almost made my guy @AdamLefkoe clinically insane.
Harden has not played well himself & it is a total route in the Sixers direction.
They are tied to Durant and Irving, of which the latter is entitled to stay a free agent.
Breaking the KD-Kyrie partnership is unlikely to happen. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Brooklyn lets Irving sign somewhere else or performs a sign-and-trade where it gets the same value in return.
If the staff on the pitch can not be relocated dramatically, then a plan of attack for 2022-23 would be to hope that another coach can get something different out of the players.
through three seasons, this experiment has been an indisputable failure. someone will pay for it. someone * must * pay for it. maybe it’s sad for nash, but it must be him. there is no other option. https://t.co/AJoZqvH4MX
That would no doubt be an unfair result for Nash.
The 48-year-old was not responsible for the Harden trade, the ongoing Simmons saga or for Irving’s decision not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which left Brooklyn without one of its best players for much of this season.
The whole idea of riding Durant and Irving to a championship could have been flawed from the start. Durant came after a serious Achilles injury and is not getting any younger. Irving, meanwhile, has struggled with injuries throughout his career. He missed the last three games of the semifinals of the conference last year due to a sprained ankle.
Stein described the 2021-22 campaign as “an organizational failure,” which accurately describes the total blame to be spread.
If Nash is preserved, one wonders what changes Brooklyn will make – no matter how small – because maintaining the status quo can be a recipe for disaster.