When a Nets team that was the pick to win the title by both Vegas and NBA GMs finished just seventh in the East – and was swept in the first round of the playoffs – some wondered if they would have a different head coach next season.
The answer is no. But Steve Nash seems likely to have some different assistants.
Nash has been with Nets general manager Sean Marks this week at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. And while Nash’s former assistant Ime Udoka is coaching Boston in the Eastern Conference finals against Miami – after beating the Nets and then the defending champion Bucks – Brooklyn is looking at a staff shake-up.
“Between Steve, myself and [Nets owner] Joe Tsai, we’ve spent a lot of time meeting, ”Marks said. “It should come as no surprise to anybody that when you finish a season the way we did, it’s with disappointment, it’s with frustration, and it’s also a time to reflect and look in the mirror. And everybody needs to do that, from the whole basketball operations department.
“Same with me, as a leader. We have to look and say ‘What went wrong? How can we fix it? … How do we change things? ‘ Whether that’s the vision, whether that’s as simple as the roster construction. Whether that’s from Steve’s standpoint, how we coach the games and how we prepare for the games. What we need, where are our holes. We’re all going to try and figure out… doing a very deep dive. ”
Development coach Amar Stoudemire announced his departure on ESPN. He has been close with Nash for almost two decades, the duo playing six high-octane seasons together in Phoenix from 2004-10 and two more years coaching in Brooklyn. Stoudemire has praised the coaching job Nash has done.
Now assistants David Vanterpool and Adam Harrington – who doubles as director of player development – are both likely gone, according to Marc Stein. Marks talked about having to go back to their player development roots. Sources have told The Post there could be yet more turnover among the front office.
Steve Clifford, who has served as a consultant, interviewed for the Sacramento Kings head coaching job that eventually went to Mike Brown (currently in the Western Conference finals as a Golden State assistant). The 60-year-old Clifford has been a head coach of the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets. He provided Nash with some much-needed experience on the staff this past season.
Brooklyn is also interested in bringing in James Borrego as an assistant, according to NetsDaily. He not only matched Clifford’s résumé as a head coach of both the Magic and the Hornets – this year’s 43-39 mark in Charlotte was just a game behind Brooklyn – but has worked with Marks not once but twice.
Borrego – who was current Nets assistant Jacque Vaughn’s assistant and successor in Orlando – was a San Antonio assistant from 2003-10, with Marks playing for the Spurs during the first three of those seasons. He returned to Gregg Popovich’s bench in 2015-16, when Marks was assistant GM.