Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant said he was “shocked” aboutand learned about the news by turning on the TV after a pregame nap on Tuesday afternoon. Nash and the team mutually agreed to part ways after a frustrating and chaotic start to the season.
“You’re always shocked when a move like this happens,” Durant said after the Nets’ loss to the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, which dropped them to 2-6 on the season. “But it’s normal in the NBA. So it’s about getting ready for the game tonight. It’s a quick turnaround always in the league, especially during the season. You got practice, games coming up, so you can’t think too much about it. But it was on the mind for a little bit today.”
Durant said “a lot of stuff” led to Nash’s exit. “We didn’t have a healthy team. Just didn’t pay well. And that’s what happens in the league. Shit happens. So that doesn’t take away from Steve’s basketball IQ, how he teaches the game. I don’t think that takes away from anything. It just didn’t work out.”
While it certainly would be a bit startling to wake up from a nap and immediately learn your coach of two-plus seasons is gone, the move could not really have been that much of a surprise to Durant given the totality of the situation. The team has been a mess on and off the court, with Nash describing their loss to the Pacers earlier this week as a “disaster” and Marks saying that he and Nash were having conversations about the latter’s future with the club for over a week.
Durant himself acknowledged the reality of the situation: “Let’s be real. We’re pros. We’re veterans. We had a tough start. It was a rocky year last year, rocky summer. We knew that everybody was being evaluated. That’s just how it is in the league.”
Plus, of course, there were Durant’s offseason maneuverings. When his trade request did not go as planned and he remained on the roster well into the summer, Durant issued an ultimatum to the team to try and speed up the process, saying they had to choose between him or the braintrust of Nash and Marks. The Nets refused to budge, and Durant eventually decided to come back to Brooklyn, but his call to fire the head coach and GM wasn’t something that could be easily forgotten.
On Tuesday, Marks said the decision for Nash to leave stemmed in part because the former coach told him, “They’re not responding to me right now.” There’s no singular reason that a coach loses his team, and Marks said that “there was zero input from any of the players on this,” but Durant calling for Nash’s job in the summer couldn’t have helped.