Steve Nash Couldn’t Handle the Nets’ Chaos

Photo: Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Polycrisis is a word that gets thrown around a bit too much these days, but it’s certainly an apt one to describe the Brooklyn Nets’ season so far. Let’s briefly run down the list of things that have gone wrong over the last few weeks. After an off-season in which Kyrie Irving made it clear he wanted out of Brooklyn, he is now spending postgame press conferences defending his decision to share Alex Jones videos and endorse antisemitic movies on social media. Ben Simmons, a gun-shy addition late last season, is getting paid $29 million to airball layups. Kevin Durant — who’d demanded a trade last summer — is now trying to keep the team afloat by scoring more than 32 points per game. His effort isn’t paying off yet: The Nets are 2-5 and, perhaps more important, dead last in season ticket sales.

The team hasn’t been able to do much to solve the problems of its cantankerous stars, but it can at least get rid of the coach who (understandably) failed to bring them together. On Tuesday, the Nets announced a parting of ways with head coach Steve Nash — a decision that ESPN reports was mutual.

“Personally, this was an immensely difficult decision,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “However, after much deliberation and evaluation of how the season has begun, we agreed that a change is necessary at this time.”

The farewell marked the end of a disappointing first head-coaching job for Nash, a former MVP point guard. Nash was brought in for the 2020–21 season — the first year Durant (who sat out the previous season with an injury) and Irving would actually play together. Despite picking up another superstar in James Harden before the all-star break, the Nets lost in the second round of the playoffs. The next year got ugly. With New York City COVID regulations barring the unvaccinated Irving from playing at home, the Nets underperformed, Harden demanded a trade (again), and a discombobulated squad lost in an embarrassing first-round playoff sweep to the Boston Celtics. Over the summer, Durant reportedly told Nets owner Joe Tsai that he had to choose between him and Nash, then he backed down.

It may not take long for the Eastern Conference’s messiest team to find its next coach. According to The Athletic, the Nets are planning to hire Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, who was suspended for the season in Boston after having a relationship with a subordinate (the details of which remain unclear). If the deal goes through, and even if Udoka can bring some on-court order to the star-crossed roster, it would be a fitting hire for a deeply chaotic team.

Steve Nash Couldn’t Handle the Nets’ Chaos