Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash has come under fire after the Nets’ were swept out of the first round by the Boston Celtics in this year’s playoffs. Nash, for the second year in a row, has failed to get a Nets team ,headlined by two future Hall of Famers in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, past the second round of the playoffs. In the eyes of many, his lack of playoff success has brought his future with the organization into question. Nobody knows what the future holds for the Nets head coach. But with the window for Brooklyn to win a title getting more narrow, if Nash isn’t let go this summer, he will surely be on the hot seat.
The latest Nets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Nets newsletter here!
Nets Had Interest in Phil Handy Before Hiring Steve Nash
When Nash got hired to replace former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, the decision to do so was a bit of a head-scratcher for fans. Sure, Nash had been a consultant with the Golden State Warriors. In fact, he was there when Durant won the only two titles of his career in 2017 and 2018. But still, Nash had no experience as a coach. And other available candidates had prior experience in coaching roles. One of those candidates was Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy according to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports.
“Nets were interested in Phil Handy as an assistant coach when Steve Nash took the Nets head coaching job….let’s just say that it didn’t go as planned,” Scoop B said per his Twitter account on April 27.
Handy Compares Kyrie Irving to Kawhi Leonard
Handy, a 3-time NBA Champion was Kyrie’s assistant coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers when they overcame a historic 3-1 deficit to win the NBA title in 2016. Handy, who has a close relationship with Kyrie, says that Irving has always been private and likens his demeanor to Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard.
“Ky is one of those dudes that is very private. He’s very private and his circle is very small and he’s not a guy that really extends himself a lot to people that he doesn’t know. Kind of like Kawhi,” Handy told Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports in September.
“Until you actually get to know Kyrie, you’re going to get a lot of speculation. He’s going to say some stuff and certain things, but people don’t understand maybe what’s the context behind it or where he’s coming from. So, I always say a lot of times athletes, in general, are just in the spotlight where you just hear sound bites or you might see this or hear this, but people don’t really know the kid. And so, until you actually get to know Kyrie, I tell people all the time that if you don’t know someone, you probably shouldn’t speak on him.”
The Nets had a disappointing playoff exit. But context is important, and there is no denying that injuries to players such as Joe Harris and Ben Simmons prevented the Nets from ever seeing just how good they can be. It will be interesting to see if they can be one of the top teams if they are fully healthy next season.