Dirk Nowitzki rejected Steve Nash’s overtures to become assistant coach with Brooklyn
According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, Nash reached out to Nowitzki to gauge his interest, but Der große Deutsche says he is not ready to return from retirement just yet:
New Nets coach Steve Nash sounded out his longtime former teammate and close friend Dirk Nowitzki to gauge his interest in coming to Brooklyn as an assistant coach, @NYTSports has learned, but Nowitzki is not looking to return to the game full-time so early in his retirement
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 3, 2020
The Nets signed Nash to a four-year deal on Thursday morning, according to multiple reports. Jacque Vaughn, who has been serving as the team’s interim coach since the firing of Kenny Atkinson in March, will stay as the lead assistant:
Jacque Vaughn will stay as the lead assistant and become the league’s best compensated assistant coach, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/t24W26mwwp
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 3, 2020
Though Nowitzi won’t be joining him on the sidelines, the Nets are happy to have Nash as their new play caller:
“In Steve we see a leader, communicator and mentor who will garner the respect of our players,” Nets general manager Sean Marks told ESPN. “I have had the privilege to know Steve for many years. One of the great on-court leaders in our game, I have witnessed firsthand his basketball acumen and selfless approach to prioritize team success. His instincts for the game, combined with an inherent ability to communicate with and unite players towards a common goal, will prepare us to compete at the highest levels of the league.”
Nash, now 46 years of age, has no prior coaching experience, though he does have a history of leadership. He also shares a strong relationship with Kevin Durant — a bond that was built while Nash served as a consultant for the Golden State Warriors. Irving should also benefit from Nash’s direction, as he is viewed as one of the best point guards in NBA history.
Irving and Durant dealt with injuries this season. Kyrie played just 20 games this season, while Durant missed the entire campaign due to recovery. Both are expected to be ready for next season.
The Nets finished the 2019-20 regular season with a 35-37 overall record, which earned the team a No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Unfortunately, though, Brooklyn was swept by the Toronto Raptors in the opening round.
Let’s see how Nash fares as the play caller for the Nets.