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Brian Lewis | NY Post Brooklyn Nets Insider

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The Truth Network Radio
November 2, 2022 6:05 am

Brian Lewis | NY Post Brooklyn Nets Insider

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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November 2, 2022 6:05 am

Brooklyn Nets insider for the NY Post Brian Lewis joins the show to talk Steve Nash, Kyrie Irving, and the circus show that is the Nets.

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Download the Odyssey app today. We're pleased to welcome back to the show, Nets and NBA insider Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Let's begin with your reaction, Brian.

You're around this team all the time. What did you think when Steve Nash and the Nets decided to go their separate ways? I thought it was a little ahead of schedule. I think everybody that was around the team, well, listen, going back to when Kevin Durant came out and told ownership that he won Steve Nash gone, we thought at some point Kevin's going to get what he wants because he always does. But this was a little ahead of schedule. I think those of us that were around the team figured there's a chance that when they end this next upcoming road trip, Steve Nash might not be the coach.

This was even quicker than I personally thought. Do you believe Sean Marks when he says this was a mutual decision? To some extent, yes. I mean, I do believe that Steve was acutely aware that not only was the team not performing the way it should have been, but that his messaging may not have been getting through. And I think he probably realized it hasn't gotten through by now.

It probably isn't going to get through. Now, as far as would he have been willing to coach further and try to see if he could, I don't know, reach the correct people? Maybe.

Maybe. Why even bother starting the season with him as the head coach if this was the direction it was going? I asked Sean Marks that question and I didn't really get a concise answer. If you thought that this was the right move in training camp, then why isn't it the right move now? And I suppose their contention is that they gave it at least some opportunity during the regular season, pre-season and regular season. And it was obvious that the team was not going in the correct direction, that they were backsliding and that they weren't getting the production that they had hoped for. But I think it was fairly obvious that the primary party, Kevin, Tyree, et cetera, they were not clearly responding, shall we say.

You referred to a message or Steve's message. Can you summarize that? Well, listen, we understand that this team is gifted offensively, but throughout all of Steve's tenure, they haven't had great individual defensive players. This year's team actually has some players that can play individual defense, and yet they've still been horrific defensively. And I don't just mean in terms of physicality. I mean in terms of sacrificing for each other, in terms of being locked in.

All right, nobody plays a 48-minute game, but locked in for as close as 48 minutes as possible. And that means being mentally aware in the right positions, following the game plan and not pulling away from it at the first sign of trouble. These are all things that go into being a championship team or at least a contending team, and that's proven unwilling to do almost any of them. So these are the kind of messages that Steve was trying to get across, trying to drill into people's heads, and it wasn't getting through. So in your opinion, is it because that message was coming from Steve, or is it because the group, the chemistry, still isn't right with the players themselves? That unfortunately right now is impossible to answer, and I suppose we'll find out shortly.

So, I mean, I would say this. Jock Vaughan is the interim. Again, good guy, former NBA head coach, two-time interim, so I guess he's the next version of Herb Williams. And he's been their defensive coordinator since E.M.A.

and Doka left. So I don't know how much is going to change under Jock Vaughan. If it changed under Jock Vaughan, it's not going to be tactical. So that just shows you they just didn't want to play for Steve.

Now, we don't know how many games Jock Vaughan is going to get at the interim, and I don't think it would be time to make any significant tactical changes anyway. So we will see once the permanent head coach comes in, whether this was the messaging or the messenger. Brian Lewis covers everything that is the Nets and their winding road for the New York Post.

It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence here on CBS Sports Radio. The headline on your column about Steve Nash's tenure ending includes the word mercifully and then in quotes as things came to a head. Are you referring to on the court, or does this include everything that's been happening with the Nets like the Kyrie Irving situation? Well, I don't consider the Kyrie Irving situation over.

And even when it is, there'll be another one. When I'm saying came to a head, I mean Sean and Steve, whoever friendship that goes back decades, they've been in constant communication. That's not a new thing. So we're talking about communication over the past week about these guys aren't responding. They're not hearing what I'm saying.

I can't drag out of them what I'm trying to drag out of them, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And I'm saying those conversations finally came to a head and they decided the part ways. The name out there is Imayudoka, as you've referenced, and he was a part of the staff before he took that Celtics gig. We know what happened with Boston, kind of, at least the fact that it seems like the Celtics were not interested in bringing him back once the suspension was handed down. What does it take to get him released from Boston and back in Brooklyn? I don't think it will take that much. I do not think this is a situation where Boston would hold Brooklyn hostage in terms of draft compensation and so forth, which, at least to me, tells me if you have a youngish coach who just led your team to the NBA Finals and you are willing to let him go to a division rival that is loaded with talent and you're willing to let him go with no sort of compensation, that would terrify me as to what I'm not seeing.

That would scare me that I'm only seeing the tip of the iceberg, but I don't know. I don't know what the Celtics know. I don't know what it is that we don't know, but I don't figure it will take a ton of compensation to free him from the rest of his contract and get him to Brooklyn.

I don't think that's going to be a difficult hurdle, it's clear. Neither of us can speak to the details, and there's only a handful of people who actually know what happened, the Celtics keeping that under wraps. But in terms of basketball, we know what an impact E-Mae had on the Celtics, especially in the second half at the point at which they were 500. He focused on the defense, obviously the Nets made your weakness, and they took off like a meteorite and they were able to reach the NBA Finals. The team really responded to him, and there is a pre-existing relationship with some of the Nets, at least with the organization. What do you know or what do you remember about covering him with the Nets?

I think it would be challenging to find a better fit. I will tell you that players respond to him. Players not just liked him, but they respected his coaching acumen. They respected the work that he had put in as a player, and I'm not necessarily talking about being a guy who was going to walk into the Hall of Fame on a cloud like Steve was, but just the fact that this was a guy who had been through the grind and understood, okay, fine. He understands what it is to be a player, but he also understands what it is to be a coach and work his way up as a coach, and they played for him. As far as his defensive mind, he was a solid defensive mind in Philadelphia. He was a guy who learned from the best in Popovich.

He made a Nets team that was devoid of defensive players look halfway respectable defensively when they played and reached the Eastern Conference semifinals against Milwaukee. So I don't think there's any question as far as his coaching acumen. Any of the questions regarding Emay or Doka, none of them are involved with his ability to coach.

Brian Lewis of the New York Post is with us after hours on CBS Sports Radio. So we'll wait to find out how that drops and when, because it sounds like it could happen fairly quickly in this exchange with Boston. But getting back to the team, the last time you and I spoke, we were in the throes of Kyrie, whether or not he would pick up his option, and then boom, right on the heels of him doing that. Kevin Durant asked for a trade. You already mentioned this conversation that he had with Josiah about trying to get Steve Nash and Sean Marks ousted.

That didn't happen. So here we are, one big happy family, though minus Steve Nash. Is all of that forgotten, Brian? Forgotten by whom? By the team?

I don't know, by the locker room, by the general manager, by the owner. Are they just agreeing to let all of that be in the past? I don't think they have a choice. Here's the thing.

Good point. They don't have better options. Kevin Durant's not a fool. He looked around at the landscape, and he realized the Nets are not giving him away for nothing. And he also realized that if the Nets could extract even close to the price that they wanted, the team that he's going to is going to be a picked-over carcass, and he's going to be playing by himself.

And the Nets, they never wanted to trade him. They grudgingly did their due diligence and said, okay, what's out there that we could pry away from other teams? What's our asking price?

What could possibly be our guess? And then they looked and they said, none of these deals are to our liking. It's an uneasy marriage.

You might say it's a marriage of convenience, but it's certainly better than the option. And I think all sides realize that. Wow. It's just amazing to me that so much happened, and yet the only person that ends up on the outside looking in is Steve Nash.

Yeah, that's about the size of it. Brian, what about this situation with Kyrie? I don't know that it falls on the Nets. Maybe it does.

Maybe it doesn't. It seems like we haven't heard much from the NBA. I know he deleted the tweet with the link to this particular movie that's been inflammatory to Jewish groups, and we've seen some people sitting courtside who are protesting. Are you expecting anything else to happen with Kyrie and the team or the league?

Correct. We have not heard much from the league. The league had a statement which conspicuously did not name Kyrie. The Nets had a statement which conspicuously did not name Kyrie. Finally, today, the players' union had a statement which did not name Kyrie. The only person, flesh entity, that named Kyrie directly was Nets owner Joe Tsai.

And that came on Friday, which was after Joe had spoken to the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, personally. So I would say where it stands now is nobody has suspended Kyrie, nobody that we know of has fined Kyrie. The Nets haven't benched Kyrie or sat Kyrie.

It should be pointed out. If anybody tried to suspend Kyrie or even fined Kyrie, in all likelihood, the union would react strongly. He's been vice president of the union since 2020, so it's fairly obvious that they would react strongly to that. That doesn't mean that you can't fit Kyrie. You don't have to suspend him. You could suspend him, but if you figure that's a bridge too far and you don't feel like dealing with illegal drama, you could just simply have him be a DNP coach's decision. You could say, we're arresting him.

We played him 40 minutes the other day, and he took a lot of punishment. We're going to arrest Kyrie for his own good. And when Sean Marks was asked, was that in the cards?

No, apparently not. It's very interesting that he said today, he acknowledged that Kyrie's nine-minute conversation in the postgame didn't go well, and that they weren't having him speak to the media until, quote, cooler heads prevailed, unquote, and to let the situation simmer down. There's certainly nothing to stop them from taking the same tact with his playing time, right?

They could then, if they're giving him a break from the big bad media to let things simmer down, to let cooler heads prevail, they could give him a break from his playing time, but they're not doing that. So I wouldn't expect to see anything happen. Now, what I would tell you is this. It is feasible that he could sit down and have a meeting with the ADL.

That's not impossible. And I did report that he sent part of his delegation to meet with the ADL. I don't know whether a personal one-on-one meeting is going to follow up. I suppose that could depend on how well this initial meeting went. I would say this entire situation isn't over. I'd say it's ongoing. And this is something that's probably not going away immediately.

We could still be following the story a little while from now. Where in the world does basketball fall in all of this? Brian, it seems like it's such a low priority. Unfortunately, that is the case. You're not wrong. You're not wrong. The Nets do drama far better than they do basketball right now. That is the line, Brian.

That is the line. The Nets do drama far better than they do basketball right now. I'm going to have to use that over and over again, but don't you worry. I'll give you credit. You can find Brian on Twitter at New York or NY post underscore Lewis covers both the Nets and the NBA for the New York Post. And gosh, we're going to stop meeting like this.

At some point, we'll just talk actual basketball, Brian. But I appreciate your time as always. Oh, anytime.

Thanks for having me. Catch up later. There's a lot to listen to. So get started and download the free Odyssey app today. And do we mention it's all free? Download the Odyssey app today.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-06 14:42:26 / 2022-11-06 14:46:19 / 4

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