Report: Raptors meet Nick Nurse finalist Steve Nash in Milwaukee

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The Toronto Raptors continue to cover all of their bases in search of the 10th head coach in franchise history.

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Canadian basketball icon Steve Nash was the latest to meet with the Raptors, The Athletic reported Monday afternoon.

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Nash, a two-time NBA MVP, went 94-67 in two seasons and seven games as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets this year for a .584 win ratio.

Not even Nash, known as one of the greatest floor generals and leaders in NBA history, could get the dysfunctional Nets on the same page as various off-court issues (mainly involving Kyrie Irving) or injuries to the three Superstars arose of the team got worse.

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Nash previously worked as a player development consultant for the Golden State Warriors, where he won two championship rings and formed a relationship with Kevin Durant before problems arose between the two in Brooklyn.

While Nash, like most coaches, took some criticism for his tactics and adjustments, many quickly jumped to his defense when paths parted in Brooklyn.

“There’s nobody in the league who doesn’t appreciate Steve Nash the most,” Jeff Van Gundy, the station’s longtime head coach and host, told Sirius XM radio. “And I have to say, I just don’t know who wouldn’t want to play for him. His personality, his success, his attitude towards life, his compassion and empathy for people. To me, he’s a role model for what we want in leadership and it’s a shame the Nets have decided to move on.”

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Steve Clifford, a former assistant to Van Gundy who coached in Orlando and now twice in Charlotte, where he is currently the head coach, also championed Nash, for whom he has consulted between head coaching jobs.

“There are always things you can do better as a coach, but the problem wasn’t the coaching,” Clifford told reporters. “Nor the open-mindedness about the way we did things. I absolutely disagree with all of this and sometimes it’s just health.”

The Nash’s Nets pushed eventual champions Milwaukee Bucks to their limits in the 2021 playoffs despite two of the team’s Big 3 injuries. Had Durant not stepped on the three-point line, Brooklyn — and not Milwaukee — would have advanced. Nash’s collaborators this season have included Mike D’Antoni and Ime Udoka, as many have noted. After her departure, Brooklyn went downhill for a variety of reasons.

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In Nash, Toronto, one of the teams with the worst marksmen in the NBA and the most unreliable offense in the halffield, would have one of the best shooters and playmakers in league history. However, of course they would get him as a head coach, not as a player. Nash has yet to prove that he can translate his tremendous success as a player to his work behind the bench. Ditto for the likes of Jason Kidd, Isiah Thomas, or Magic Johnson in the past (although Larry Bird was damn good at everything he did).

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The Raptors under Bryan Colangelo attacked Nash hard during his playing days when he was still a free agent and even involved Wayne Gretzky in a video. Nash eventually signed with the Los Angeles Lakers before injuries ended his career.


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Toronto is looking to replace Nick Nurse, who was fired April 21 and had a 227-163 (.582) record as manager of the Raptors, including an NBA title win.

According to reports Monday, Nurse emerged as a finalist for the Milwaukee job along with his Toronto executive Adrian Griffin, who began his coaching career with the Bucks, and Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson. The registered nurse is also believed to be a top candidate for the now open positions in Phoenix and Philadelphia.



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