The Brooklyn Nets and Steve Nash’s decision to part ways on Tuesday “shocked” Kevin Durant, the sharpshooter said after the team’s 108-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
Jacque Vaughn was named interim coach to replace Nash for the game, and Durant was among those asked about the departure.
“You’re always shocked when a move like this happens,” Durant said, via ESPN. “But that’s normal in the NBA. It’s about getting ready for tonight’s game. It’s always a quick turnaround in the league, especially during the season. You have practices, games coming up, so you can’t think too much about It’s been on my mind for a little while today.
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Durant, who scored 32 points on 9-of-16 shooting, added: “I mean, let’s be real. We’re pros. We’re veterans. You know, we had a tough start to a tough year, the year last, difficult summer. We knew everyone was assessed. That’s how it is in the league.”
Joe Harris added that he was a bit surprised the decision was made seven games into the season.
“I think everyone was really surprised it’s still so early in the year,” Harris said, via SNY. “You play so many games in an NBA season, where – even if you’re fighting as a team, individually, whatever – you know you’ve got a lot of games to fight and get your way back. So, definitely, a surprise given the timing.”
Durant described the past few years as a “roller coaster.” When he first joined the team, Kenny Atkinson was still the head coach. Atkinson led the Nets to the playoffs without Durant or Kyrie Irving in the organization. Vaughn would take over after the firing and later Nash would join the team.
“I love working with Steve, I love working with the coaching staff, it’s been a roller coaster the last few years,” Durant said. “…But, deep down, basketball is something we all love to do. No matter who the coach is, no matter the circumstances, you always have to come to work, so I enjoyed coming to work with Steve. “
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Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks spoke about Nash’s departure before the game. He said he and Nash had been talking for a week, maybe more, before they came to the decision that it was time for a change.
“It was definitely going in that direction and to be quite frank, the team wasn’t doing what they were supposed to do,” Marks said. “We fell from our goals and from achieving our goals, and now was the time because we still have lofty aspirations of where we need to go.”
Marks said the decision was made without consulting the players.
Rumors swirled immediately after Nash’s departure that the team could sign suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka as a replacement, but Marks said nothing was decided.
“But I would say I’ll save that for when those decisions are made, and I couldn’t give you a timeline on that,” Marks said. “Obviously there’s a reason we made this decision when we did, because time is running out. So we want this process to be thorough, we’re not going to skip any steps on that, and then we’ll do our due When I was hired, when somebody was hired, the organization does a very, very thorough due diligence on everybody, and you come up with the best possible outcome.
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Nash was 92-62 as a Brooklyn coach in the regular season and playoffs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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