Kevin Durant addresses Nash firing and Nets controversies

New York, New York - Kevin Durant reportedly pushed for Steve Nash's removal as Brooklyn Nets head coach in the off-season – but even he was "shocked" when he found out about his firing on Tuesday.

Kevin Durant looks on during the Nets' latest loss in the NBA.
Kevin Durant looks on during the Nets' latest loss in the NBA.  © USA TODAY Sports

The Nets confirmed they had mutually agreed to part ways after a 2-5 start to the NBA season, made worse by the 108-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls later that day.

It was widely reported Durant had issued Nets owner Joe Tsai with an ultimatum in an unsettled off-season at the Barclays Center, either trade him or fire Nash and general manager Sean Marks.

Yet Durant, who said he learned the news of Nash's firing on ESPN after waking up from a nap on Tuesday, insisted he was taken aback when he found out and shrugged off questions about whether he was consulted.

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"You're always shocked when a move like this happens, but it's normal in the NBA," Durant told reporters after Tuesday's loss. "You've got practice, games coming up, so you can't think too much about it. It was on my mind for a little bit today."

Nash had taken over at the Nets in September 2020, taking the side to the Conference Semifinals in 2020-21 with their 'big three' of Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.

But the Nets struggled in 2021-22 and swept out of the playoffs in the first round by the Boston Celtics, amid a difficult season that saw Irving largely ineligible due to his vaccination status and Harden traded.

Durant shrugs off Nets volatility

Durant argues with the referee during Brooklyn's defeat to the Chicago Bulls.
Durant argues with the referee during Brooklyn's defeat to the Chicago Bulls.  © USA TODAY Sports

"Let's be real, we're pros, we're veterans," Durant added. "We had a tough start. It was a rocky year last year, rocky summer. We knew that everybody was being evaluated.

"That's just how it is in the league. So I liked working with Steve. I like working with the coaching staff. It was a roller coaster the last few years, but the core of it - basketball - is something we all love to do. Regardless of who the coach [is], regardless of the circumstances, you still got to come to work. I enjoyed coming to work with Steve."

Nash's firing comes in the midst of the franchise's latest off-court issue surrounding Irving facing widespread backlash for sharing an antisemitic film on social media.

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Durant insisted that there was not too much volatility around the Nets.

"That's the NBA," Durant said. "Everybody's got volatility if you want to look at it.

"It's just a matter of – outside people might look at what we do as bigger than what it is, but we come to work every single day."

"Guys have asked for trades before, coaches get fired, we have disagreements in our locker room, it happens in the NBA. But at the end of the day we all came to work. It just didn't work out on the floor."

Cover photo: USA TODAY Sports

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