The Brooklyn Nets have hired Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash as their next head coach, the team announced on Thursday. Nash will take over a team with championship aspirations, led by a superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. His deal is reportedly a four-year contract.
Former Nets interim coach Jacque Vaughn will stay on as Nash’s lead assistant. He will become the league’s highest-paid assistant coach, according to ESPN.
“In Steve we see a leader, communicator and mentor who will garner the respect of our players,” Nets GM Sean Marks said in a statement. “One of the great on-court leaders in our game, I have witnessed first hand 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 had served as a player development consultant for the Golden State Warriors beginning in 2015, just before the team set an NBA record with 73 wins to just nine losses. Those Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals in seven games. They then signed Durant and won back-to-back NBA titles.
Nash is known as one of the best point guards in NBA history. He claimed the 2004-05 league Most Valuable Player award in his first season with the Phoenix Suns, averaging 15.5 points, 11.5 assists and leading the Suns to a league-best 62-20 record. He was the on-court leader of Mike D’Antoni’s Seven Seconds or Less offense in Phoenix, a system that revolutionized basketball by pushing pace and prioritizing the 3.
Nash is also one of nine members of the vaunted 50-40-90 club, featuring efficient scorers who shoot at least 50% from the field, 40% from 3 and 90% from the foul line. Durant is also a member of that illustrious club, as are Larry Bird, Curry, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, Mark Price, Malcolm Brogdon and the Washington Mystics’ Elena Della Donne.
Nash’s accomplishments as a player are well-known, and they’re respected. He has also served as general manager of the Canadian national basketball team. But the Nets have hired a rookie head coach to lead this team into the future. It is a gutsy move given the circumstance: A three-year window to win a championship around two of the league’s most polarizing talents.
“Steve shares our vision for the future of this franchise and his character exemplifies the core principles of our organization in working to serve our communities,” Nets owner Joe Tsai said in a statement. “I can’t wait for Steve to get started.”