The Nets confirmed on Tuesday that they mutually agreed to separate after the start of the season 2-5, which was exacerbated by a 108-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls later that day.
It was widely reported that Durant issued an ultimatum to Nets owner Joe Tsai in an uneasy off-season at the Barclays Center, either swapping him or firing Nash and general manager Sean Marks.
However, Durant, who said he learned about Nash’s shooting on ESPN after waking up from a nap on Tuesday, insisted he was surprised to find out and ignored questions about whether he had been consulted.
“You always get shocked when something like this happens, but it’s normal in the NBA,” Durant told reporters after Tuesday’s loss.
“You’ve got training, games coming up, so you can’t really think about it. It’s been on my mind for some time today.”
Nash took charge of the Nets in September 2020, joining the conference semi-finals in 2020-21 with the ‘Big Three’ Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
But the Nets struggled in 2021-22 and swept the playoffs in the first round by the Boston Celtics, amid a difficult season that saw Irving largely disqualified due to his vaccination status and Harden’s trade.
“Let’s be real, we’re professionals, we’re veterans,” Durant added. “It was a tough start. It was a tough year last year, a rocky summer. We knew everyone was being evaluated.
“That’s exactly the way it is in the league. So I loved working with Steve. I love working with the coaching staff. It’s been roller coaster the last few years, but the core – basketball – is something we all love to do no matter who the coach is.” [is]No matter the circumstances, you still have to come to work. I enjoyed coming to work with Steve.”
Nash’s firing comes in the midst of the latest franchise out-of-court case over Irving facing widespread backlash for sharing a movie on social media with allegedly anti-Semitic connotations.
Durant insisted there wasn’t much fluctuation around the networks.
“This is the NBA,” Durant said. “Everyone has their ups and downs if you want to look at them.
“It’s just a matter of – outside people may perceive what we do as bigger than it is, but we come to work every day.
“Men have asked for deals before, coaches have been fired, we have quarrels in our locker room, it happens in the NBA. But at the end of the day, we all came to work. It didn’t work out on the floor.”