(Reuters) – Basketball Hall of Famer Steve Nash has been named head coach of a Brooklyn Nets squad that will be led by the dominant Kevin Durant next season, the NBA team said on Thursday.
Nash joins the Nets after spending five seasons as a player development consultant with the Golden State Warriors, where he contributed to two NBA championship teams and made four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals.
“Coaching is something I knew I wanted to pursue when the time was right, and I am humbled to be able to work with the outstanding group of players and staff we have here in Brooklyn,” Nash said in a news release.
“I am as excited about the prospects of the team on the court as I am about moving to Brooklyn with my family and becoming impactful members of this community.”
During an 18-season career with the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, Nash averaged 14.3 points and 8.5 assists and was one of the best three-pointer shooters in league NBA history, making 42.8% of his threes.
He won back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards in 2005 and 2006 while playing for the Suns, becoming just the 10th player in NBA history to win the award in consecutive seasons.
The 46-year-old Canadian joins a Brooklyn team that fell in the first round of this year’s playoffs to the reigning champion Toronto Raptors while Durant and Kyrie Irving sat out injured.
Two-times NBA champion Durant joined the Nets last year but sat out the entire season because of a ruptured Achilles he suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals.
Irving, who won an NBA championship alongside LeBron James in 2016 as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, was sidelined in February to have season-ending shoulder surgery.
Both players, who were the top free agents available last year, are expected to be ready when the 2020-21 season begins in December.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)