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Mike D’Antoni leaving Brooklyn Nets coaching staff after one season under Steve Nash

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When the Brooklyn Nets hired Steve Nash as their head coach last offseason without any full-time coaching experience, they made sure to furnish his staff with as many experienced coaches as possible. Their most notable hire was a coach that Nash knew well: Mike D’Antoni. The two of them led the Seven Seconds or Less era in Phoenix with D’Antoni as the head coach and Nash as the MVP point guard, and together again in Brooklyn, they attempted to build a similarly dominant offense around Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and another former partner of D’Antoni’s, James Harden

But after only one season together, D’Antoni has decided to leave Brooklyn. Nash thanked his former head coach in a statement released by the team Wednesday. “I would like to thank Mike for everything he did for me, as well as our organization, over the past year,” Nash wrote. “Having Mike next to me was invaluable as I navigated my first season as head coach. I will be forever grateful for his guidance and will carry on a lifetime of lessons from the many years we’ve spent together. Our players and staff all benefitted from his time in Brooklyn and we wish Mike, Laurel and their family the very best in what lies ahead.”

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Coaches like D’Antoni are rarely even available for assistant positions. His contract with the Houston Rockets had expired after the Orlando bubble and both sides agreed to part ways. D’Antoni immediately began interviewing for head coaching positions for other teams, and was seemingly considered a serious candidate with the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers went with first-time coach Nate Bjorkgren, though, and the 76ers pivoted after Doc Rivers surprisingly became available, so D’Antoni was left without a head coaching position last season. Joining Nash in Brooklyn was the next best option, especially after a brief stint as an assistant with the 76ers helped him land the Rockets job several years earlier. 

But now, D’Antoni is stepping away, and it’s unclear what will come next for the longtime NBA head coach. Another assistant job appears unlikely considering how appealing his situation in Brooklyn was. D’Antoni will likely be a candidate for future head coaching positions, but what he’ll do in the interim remains to be seen. For now, the Nets will have to continue to reshape their coaching staff after losing fellow top assistant Ime Udoka to the Boston Celtics earlier in the offseason and replacing him with David Vanterpool.

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