Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving reportedly were “actively trying” to get former Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash fired during the 2022-23 season.
According to the New York Daily News‘ Kristian Winfield, who covers the Nets and NBA, Irving took poor shots and Durant showed visible frustration as a way to get Nash out of Brooklyn.
Brooklyn was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics in the 2021-22 season, but the team decided to give Nash a chance to turn things around the following season. It didn’t last long, as he was fired seven games into the 2022-23 campaign.
“The Nets didn’t fire Steve Nash after the sweep, right?” Winfield said. “They gave him another seven games to begin the season to try it. And you had guys like Kevin Durant and Kyrie who were actively trying to get him fired by how they were playing. I watched Kyrie Irving shoot turnaround fadeaway 3s for the first time in my life — contested — in those first seven games — multiple. We knew those shots weren’t going in, right? I watched Kevin Durant get pissed off and slap the scorer’s table so hard in broad daylight.”
Nash was certainly in a tough situation, as both of Brooklyn’s star players at the time seemingly didn’t want him to lead the team.
Even though the Nets fired Nash this season, it didn’t help them retain either star.
Irving requested a trade prior to the trade deadline, and he was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks for a package centered around Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith. Shortly after, the Nets traded Durant as well.
They moved the two-time NBA Finals MVP to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder and several draft picks.
It was an unceremonious end to Durant and Irving’s time in Brooklyn, as the team fell way short of expectations in those seasons.
Nash coached the Nets from the 2020-21 season through the first seven games of the 2022-23 season. He had a 94-67 record, but the team won just one playoff series in his tenure.
The Nets now have Jacque Vaughn leading the way for the franchise, and he did get the team into the playoffs this season despite Irving and Durant being traded away.
It seems like the Nets never got on the same page as the two star players, and they will now enter a new era with Bridges emerging as a potential star.
In 27 regular season games for Brooklyn, Bridges averaged 26.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Hopefully for the Nets, they won’t have as much dysfunction in this new era.