D’Antoni joins Nash’s Brooklyn staff as assistanton November 2, 2020 at 9:31 pm

Mike D’Antoni will be an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets, reuniting him with his former MVP point guard, Nets coach Steve Nash, the team announced Friday.

The Nets announced the hires of D’Antoni, Amar’e Stoudemire and well-regarded assistant Ime Udoka, who spent seven of the past eight seasons on Gregg Popovich’s staff with the San Antonio Spurs.

Nash has constructed a strong coaching staff for his first season as a head coach, including associate head coach Jacque Vaughn. The Nets are expected to be among the NBA’s championship contenders with the return of Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn debut of Kevin Durant.

Udoka spent seven years as an assistant under Popovich with the Spurs and the 2019-20 season as the top assistant with Brett Brown and the Philadelphia 76ers. He has been a candidate for several head-coaching jobs in recent years.

For D’Antoni and Nash, this is the third time they will be together, including a memorable 2004 to 2008 run with the Phoenix Suns that saw the birth of the “Seven Seconds or Less” offense and the emergence of Nash as a Hall of Fame point guard in the system.

D’Antoni coached Nash on the Los Angeles Lakers (2012 to 2014) for a far less successful stretch after injuries had limited Nash’s playing time and effectiveness.

D’Antoni, 69, is one of the most successful and innovative coaches of this generation. He spent the past four years with the Houston Rockets before choosing to walk away without a contract extension at the end of the 2019-20 season.

He was 217-101 in four seasons as Rockets coach, advancing once to the Western Conference finals and three times to the conference semifinals. D’Antoni, a two-time NBA Coach of the Year, led the Rockets to the highest winning percentage in the Western Conference over the past four years (.682), trailing only the Toronto Raptors (.695) in the entire league.

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