The Nets Dumped Steve Nash. Should It Have Been Kyrie Irving?
Steve Nash, center, who retired in 2009, still represents the pinnacle of the NBA life, and even while he is on the mend and still trying to get over the death of his wife, he is still playing for a team in which he has an even greater stake than he ever dreamed of for playing for.
The Nets’ GM at the time, Billy King, and Nash’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, both knew all along that they were not going to be able to keep him in Brooklyn. The Nets were going to have to move him. With that knowledge in hand, he played his final season in Brooklyn. But it was never a comfortable end for Nash. It was the end of the beginning for him. It was the end of his basketball life.
The first time he started playing again was on the same court, in the same arena, a few days after he left the Nets. It was the Nets’ second game after the death of his pregnant wife, and Nash was on the court for the first time in 26 months. It was the end of a life, so Nash’s first comeback game gave him the chance to reflect on what he considered the greatest achievement of his career. He came to the game with high expectations. He came to the game with only a year of his career and much to learn. But what he was there to do was give the first glimpse of what he really wanted to do. He wanted to come back to the place where he started his basketball life, and he wanted to come back to the place where he gave the best years of his life, because that’s where he feels most at peace with himself: in Brooklyn. He could never be happy anywhere else.
He scored 21 points and set a team mark with 10 rebounds and seven assists. It seemed he was still missing some pieces here and there, but he was more than happy to run through the Nets and give them the hard look of a potential franchise again.
That season with the Nets, he averaged 18.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 5.0 assists, and made a team-high 61.6 percent of his field goals. In his final game with the Nets, in a playoff loss to Detroit—the same team that went on to