“I’m excited for Steve,” Antoine Walker told me on today’s episode of the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show.
“I played with Steve, so I got a chance to know Steve really well. I’m excited for new blood in the NBA. I’m a big guy [who believes that] it’s time to get the old guys out. I love and respect them, but it’s time for some new blood to come in as far as coaches. We recycle too much in the NBA. Everything’s a recycle and we need to start bringing in some new blood in the NBA so I’m excited for that.”
Now retired from the NBA, Nash is an eight-time NBA All-Star. The 15th pick in the 1996 NBA draft out of Santa Clara, Nash is a seven-time All-NBA selection and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player twice while playing for the Phoenix Suns.
Nash was also a star on the Dallas Mavericks alongside Dirk Nowitzki from 1999-2004. The duo propelled the Mavs to 60 wins in 2002-03. The farthest that duo went was a Western Conference finals appearance that year where they lost to the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
Antonie Walker: ‘Other Candidates Deserved a Look’
Nash and Walker were teammates in Dallas for one season, 2003-04. While on Heavy on Live With Scoop B, I asked Walker his thoughts on the Nets picking Nash over other coaching candidates. “Am I surprised?” he asked.
He went on:
I think that there’s some other candidates that deserved a look. I think it’s a little disappointing when we don’t give guys a certain look and I wouldn’t necessarily pinpoint it at being racial. But if I’m going through a coaching search, how do you not sit down with Tyronn Lue who’s coached the best player in the game in LeBron James? How you don’t sit down with a Jason Kidd and Mark Jackson and least give these guys an interview? Then how do you; and this is what made me the most upset, is you watch a guy like Jacque Vaughn, who’s been around your guys, do a tremendous job with your guys. But you don’t feel like he’s good enough to be the head [coach]? But he’s good enough to make him the highest paid assistant. I don’t know, and I understand Jacque’s position and I know he wants to keep a job, but to me that’s a slap in the face to do that.
Steve Nash’s connection with Kevin Durant was forged during Nash’s stint as a consultant for the Golden State Warriors. Kyrie Irving competed against Nash when Irving was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Nash was toward the end of his career with both the Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers. Irving also participated in Nash’s soccer tournaments with Irving in years past.
“I know that Kyrie and KD have both signed off on this,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said last week.
“I know they both support this move. But I am thinking about a champion that is Ty Lue, passed up. I am thinking about a guy that built the foundation of the Golden State Warriors, Mark Jackson, passed up. I’m thinking about the years that Sam Cassell has served as an assistant, first in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., and now with the Los Angeles Clippers, passed up. And it’s for a guy—my God, one of the best guys you could possibly meet in your life and may do a fantastic job, but a guy who has no experience whatsoever.”
“I never knew that he wanted to be a coach,” Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal said last week on TNT.
Walker Thinks Nets ‘Could Have Camouflaged it a Lot Better’
More from Shaq via transcript from NBA scribe, Landon Buford:
“He’s a great guy, a great person. Listen, you know, and I know it is all about who you know, and Sean Marks played with Steve [Nash]. He is running things up in Brooklyn now, so he took care of his guy. I would have liked to see Mark Jackson get a shot. I wanted Mark Jackson, B Shaw [Brian Shaw], Ty Lue, who has championship experience.”
Antoine Walker’s logic is similar. “But I do like the fact that we got new blood in there,” he told Heavy Live With Scoop B.
“And Sean Marks, I don’t think he went about it the right way, probably could have camouflaged it a lot better than what he did, that’s if he was hellbent on keeping Steve [Nash]. But I think Steve will be fine. Anytime you can come in and you can get arguably two of the top 10 players in the league, the East, you know that is a little bit more watered down, than the Western Conference. He’s going to be great! He’s going to be fine. I don’t know whether or not they’re going to win the title, but they’ll be in the mix. They’ll be one of the top four teams in the league next year. Easily! And it ain’t hard to coach talent. Ask Steve Kerr!”