Durant insists he was 'shocked' by Nets' decision to fire Nash originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
But even after Brooklyn's 2-5 start, Durant insists he didn't see Tuesday's news coming.
"You're always shocked when a move like this happens. But it's normal in the NBA," Durant told reporters Tuesday night after the Nets' loss to the Chicago Bulls, via ESPN.com. "It's about getting ready for the game tonight. It's a quick turn always in the league, especially during the season. 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."
Nets general manager Sean Marks said he didn't consult with any players before firing Nash, and Durant confirmed as much Tuesday, claiming he found out about Nash's exit when he turned on the TV following a pregame nap.
The context worth noting here is that Durant reportedly gave Nets owner Joe Tsai an ultimatum over the summer to either honor his trade request or fire Nash and Marks, telling Tsai he "does not have faith in the team’s direction." So after Brooklyn dropped five of its first seven games, it's hard to imagine Durant was blindsided by an event he reportedly wanted to happen a few months ago.
Durant did admit an understanding for why the Nets parted ways with Nash while claiming he enjoyed his two-plus seasons working with the Nets coach.
"Let's be real, we're pros, we're veterans. We had a tough start," Durant said. "It was a rocky year last year, rocky summer. We knew that everybody was being evaluated.
"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. So regardless of who the coach [is], regardless of the circumstances, you still got to come to work. So I enjoyed coming to work with Steve."
While assistant coach Jacques Vaughn is serving as the interim head coach, the Nets are reportedly expected to hire suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka to fill Nash's role. Udoka was an assistant in Brooklyn during the 2020-21 season and also worked with Durant on Team USA at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Nets still have plenty of adversity to overcome, as Ben Simmons is sidelined with a knee injury and Kyrie Irving continues to make headlines after sharing a documentary filled with anti-Semitic tropes on social media. Whether Udoka will help them overcome that adversity or just cause more of it remains to be seen, but it sounds like the writing was on the wall for Nash in Brooklyn.