NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash and superstar Kevin Durant are "fine," Nash said Tuesday. After the Nets opened training camp, Nash reiterated : They've moved past Durant's unfulfilled trade request, and the drama that came with it. Even the it's either me or the coach and team president part.
"Knowing Kevin as long as I have, it didn't really bother me the way maybe everyone would think," Nash said. "That's a part of being competitors. I wasn't overly surprised and I wasn't even overly concerned. It was something that I thought we would address in time, and we did. And here we are and we're looking forward. It's something else that we can grow from as well."
Nash said that, when he saw the news that Durant had issued an ultimatum to team owner Joe Tsai, "I never thought that was 100 percent. It's not black and white like that. There's a lot of factors, a lot of things behind the scenes." He did not specifically dispute any reporting about Durant, but said that "a lot of things that are reported are not 100 percent accurate, so you get fragmented bits of truth, you get things that are flat-out not true."
At the time, he said, he stayed calm and planned to "work through it step by step" by talking to Durant and president Sean Marks. He said that "it was never really as big a deal to me" as it did to people on the outside, since he has seen it all between his 18-year playing career and his coaching tenure in Brooklyn.
"Ever since we talked, it's been like nothing's changed," Nash said. "I have a long history with Kevin. Love the guy. Families have issues. We had a moment and it's behind us. That's what happens. It's a common situation in the league."
Veteran center Markieff Morris, signed in the offseason, also believes that the Nets can put the tumultuous offseason behind them.
"That's the NBA, man," Morris said. "You break up with a girlfriend, you get back with her. Same shit. Same shit. You have your differences until you figure it out."
But does that work?
"Yeah," Morris said. "I mean, I broke up with my wife a couple of times. We still married. This shit works. It's just times you need space to figure some things out. This shit works. It is what it is."
Morris also backed up Durant's media-day comments. Explaining the since-rescinded trade request, Durant said that last year's shorthanded Nets didn't fight hard enough to overcome adversity and didn't earn respect around the league.
"I agree with what he said," Morris said. "They were soft. point blank period. When [Miami] played up against 'em, they were soft. Just go right in their chest. That's what we did."
Durant said Monday that Nash "agreed with me" that Brooklyn needed to play the right way regardless of who was on the floor. And while the Nets have mostly sung the same tune this week, if there's any tension between Durant's comments and Nash's, it is here. While Durant has attributed the 2021-22 team's shortcomings to a lack of resolve in challenging circumstances, Nash has attributed them to the circumstances themselves.
"We had a group of guys that were playing way outside of what their roles should be," Nash said. "So we knew going into that period we're not going to win many games here. So a big part of it is giving those guys safety, reward, pushing them to continue to try to do the right things. But when you're playing three or four non-shooters, most teams have one or none on the floor. And there's challenges and we knew that and could see that coming."
Nash said that, on the inside, it was a "huge win that we didn't come apart as a team." Yes, the Nets lost 17 of 20 games, but "a lot of teams implode when they go through that situation" and they managed to survive and "play good basketball after that." He also mentioned that, when they were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round, they were "extremely small" and without two of their four best players.
"We went through a lot of stuff," Nash said. "So you have to have perspective as well. So you can't just overreact and I think sometimes we, as competitors, lose sight of perspective because all we care about is winning."