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Steve Kerr defends Steve Nash after Brooklyn Nets fire head coach

Vincent Frank

The Brooklyn Nets surprisingly fired head coach Steve Nash on Tuesday, just seven games into his third season as their head coach.

For many, Nash was used as a scapegoat given the drama surrounding his former Nets team early on in the season. That includes Ben Simmons’ on-court struggles and more off-court issues surrounding embattled star Kyrie Irving.

Nevertheless, the decision has been made to move forward without Nash.

“We want to thank Steve for everything he brought to our franchise over the past two-plus seasons. Since becoming head coach, Steve was faced with a number of unprecedented challenges, and we are sincerely grateful for his leadership, patience and humility throughout his tenure.

Personally, this was an immensely difficult decision; however, after much deliberation and evaluation of how the season has begun, we agreed that a change is necessary at this time. We wish Steve, Lilla and their family all the best in the future.”

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks on parting ways with Steve Nash, via the team’s official website

Shortly after this announcement was made, reports surfaced that the Nets have decided to hire suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka to replace Nash. Talk about a shocking turnabout for the struggling 2-5 team. Udoka was suspended by Boston for the entire 2022-23 season due to an alleged inappropriate relationship with a co-worker. As for the Celtics, they have opted to let Udoka out of his contract to join the Nets.

These two moves sent shockwaves throughout the Association on Tuesday. That includes four-time champion Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr who defended Nash following his firing.

“You throw either of us in that situation, we wouldn’t have done any better,” Steve Kerr on the Nets firing Nash.

Related: Brooklyn Nets standing in Sportsnaut’s NBA power rankings

Brooklyn Nets use Steve Nash as obvious scapegoat

steve nash fired
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

It was late last week that Nets owner Joe Tsai blasted Irving for showing support for a controversial documentary named “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake up Black America,” which many claim to be antisemitic.

“I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity, or religion.”

Joe Tsai response to Irving tweet

Irving then got into it with ESPN reporter Nick Friedell following Saturday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers. The All-Star guard doubled down on his belief that there were no issues in sharing the documentary via his Twitter account.

“I’m not here to argue over a person or a culture or a religion and what they believe,” Irving said Saturday night. “Nah, this is what’s here. It’s on a public platform. Did I do anything illegal?”

It’s so bad on this front that the Nets opted against Irving being made available to the media ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls.

As Kerr noted, it’s a pretty impossible situation to deal with in Brooklyn right now. In addition to the Irving and Simmons issue, star forward Kevin Durant had previously requested a trade. During said request, Durant gave the Nets’ brass an ultimatum to either fire both Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks or trade him. While KD ended up pulling said request, it tells us a lot about what’s happening behind the scenes in the Big Apple.

  • Steve Nash coaching record: 94-67, .584 winning percentage

Nash led the Nets to a 48-24 record and to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in his first season with the team back in 2020-21. This past season saw Brooklyn finish a disappointing 44-38 before being swept by Udoka and his former Celtics team in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.