The Brooklyn Nets sideline is going to be filled with a lot of offensive masterminds next campaign, as Mike D’Antoni has agreed to a deal to become an assistant coach on Steve Nash’s staff, the team informed Friday.
D’Antoni stepped down as head coach of the Houston Rockets shortly after the team lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Lakers, and many thought he would find another head coaching position around the league.
Early during his coaching free agency, D’Antoni was attached to multiple jobs, including the Pelicans and the Pacers. But it was reported in mid-October that the two-time Coach of the Year was a potential candidate to join the Nets coaching staff.
With D’Antoni joining Brooklyn’s staff, it reunites him with Nash, who he coached during two separate stints throughout Nash’s profession. Most notably, though, was their time in Phoenix, where with D’Antoni at the helm and Nash as the star point guard, the two orchestrated one of the most prolific offenses in league history, with the Seven Seconds or Less Suns.
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Now, with Nash beginning his first head coaching job, he’ll be able to lean on a coach who helped him secure two league MVP awards and played an integral role into him becoming a Hall of Fame player.
Between the two of them, they’ll be able to come up with creative ways to use their two stars in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, and will no doubt have an offense that can put a lot of points on the board.
Also joining D’Antoni on the coaching staff is Ime Udoka
Udoka spent seven years under Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, and most recently a season with the Philadelphia 76ers. Like D’Antoni, Udoka was being considered for several head coaching gigs around the league, including the Bulls and the Sixers, however both teams went in different directions.
Now, Udoka will be able to bring what he learned under Popovich’s stewardship to a Nets team that has championship objectives next season. With the addition of D’Antoni and Udoka, Nash has assembled quite the impressive coaching staff for a first-timer.
Jacque Vaughn will remain the Nets top assistant coach, and former teammate Amar’e Stoudemire will also join him as an assistant focusing on player development. Stoudemire and Nash spent several seasons together playing for the Suns where they formed one of the best pick-and-roll combinations in the mid-2000s.
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