NBA Rumors: Brooklyn Nets Eyeing Mike D'Antoni for Assistant Role?
A few weeks ago, it seemed inevitable Mike D'Antoni would be off the free agency market as he would pick up another head coaching job in no time. Following his departure from the Houston Rockets, D'Antoni had a couple of interested teams, one being the Philadelphia 76ers.
Although D'Antoni had interest from multiple organizations, there was a strong mutual interest between D'Antoni and the Sixers. At a point, Philly's head coach position was a two-man race between Los Angeles Clippers assistant Ty Lue and D'Antoni.
While Lue was a candidate for the Sixers job well before D'Antoni, the former Rockets head coach quickly became Philly's favorite. At a point, the job was reportedly his to turn down -- but then Doc Rivers became available. In little time, Rivers interviewed for the job, received an offer, and accepted, leaving D'Antoni out of the picture.
Ever since he lost the Sixers job, D'Antoni hasn't garnered much interest in the market for the vacant head coaching jobs. However, he does have the Brooklyn Nets eyeing him up to potentially join Steve Nash's staff, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
"The intriguing prospect of Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash reuniting has gained steam with a report the former Knicks head coach may become a candidate for a Nets assistant job.
According to YES Network’s Frank Isola, D’Antoni and Phil Handy have become assistant candidates. It’s been previously reported by The Post’s Brian Lewis that Handy, the Lakers assistant, was a top candidate as he’s close to Irving."
While D'Antoni's familiarity with Steve Nash could help bring him onto Brooklyn's staff, the handling of job titles could make the situation complicated. Typically, a coach with D'Antoni's experience would come in and garner a top assistant role under Nash, who has zero experience as a coach.
But the top assistant's role has already been awarded to the Nets' 2019-2020 interim head coach, Jacque Vaughn. Berman of the NY Post mentions D'Antoni could earn the title of assistant head coach, but it's unclear if Brooklyn is all in on that idea as Nash has reportedly reached out to other candidates as well.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_