The Brooklyn Nets hired Steve Nash, who has worked with the Warriors as a consultant since 2015, as head coach on Thursday in no small part because of his tight relationship with a former Golden State star.
Nash worked closely with Kevin Durant during the forward's three seasons with the Warriors, often coaching him through 1-on-1 drills. Durant joined the Nets in free agency last summer, and he formed a tight bond with the Hall of Fame point guard well before signing with Golden State in 2016.
“There was an existing relationship before we even signed Kevin,” Kerr told The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on Thursday. “And you can even look online, I wouldn’t call it a documentary, but some kind of TV show where he interviewed Kevin and you could tell they really hit it off in this (2014 Vice Sports) interview. I think Kevin has great respect for Steve because he watched him growing up and then played against him late in Steve’s career. There’s an inherent respect. Mutual respect.”
Durant has not played in a game -- well, outside of a fictional one in a Drake video -- since rupturing his Achilles in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. The 31-year-old is expected to return to the court next season, whenever that might be, and he'll do so playing for a coach with whom he shares "a trust, a commonality and a language."
"We both love the game of basketball," Nash said of Durant on Thursday to The Undefeated's Marc Spears. "We got a bond, over me in a sense being a teacher and a pupil through the years. ... I think that there is a trust, a commonality and a language between us when it comes to the game that has developed over time. That definitely is important. He's one of the greatest players I've ever seen and to have his confidence is really important."
Nash told Spears he also has "history" with Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who headed to Brooklyn alongside Durant last summer. The Canadian legend also played with Nets general manager Sean Marks on the Phoenix Suns for two seasons.
With the trust of the franchise's faces and leadership, Nash told Spears that joining the Nets "checks all the boxes." Kerr felt Nash checked the Nets', too.
"It’s an incredible hire," Kerr told Kawakami. "And Sean Marks and Steve and I were all in Phoenix together. I was GM and Sean and Steve were both on the team and they were really, really tight. So that part I think is really, really important. That connection. So I’m happy for both of them.”