LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash is hoping to return to the court in the next week or two and when he does the Lakers will have a new head coach in place.
While Nash would be elated if he were reunited with his old Phoenix Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, he also sounded excited about the possibility of playing under Phil Jackson and in the Triangle offense for the first time in his career.
"It would obviously be a coup for the franchise to have somebody of his success rate and his history with this club and with Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant in particular, it would be fantastic," Nash said of the possibility of Jackson returning to coach the Lakers. "For me personally it would be fantastic."
Most people would look at myself in (the Triangle) offense and say it's not a great fit; I look at it as a great opportunity to try something new in a different stage in my career.” -- Steve Nash on possibility of
playing in Triangle offense
Jackson met with Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak on Saturday about the vacant head coaching job after the team fired Mike Brown on Friday. The Lakers also had a phone interview with former Suns and New York Knicks coach D'Antoni, who coached Nash in Phoenix from 2004-2008. Under D'Antoni, the Suns went to back-to-back conference finals in 2005 and 2006 and Nash won the league's MVP in both seasons.
"Obviously everyone knows how much I love Mike," Nash said "If he were the coach it would be seamless and terrific for me and for the team as well. These are things that will be decided pretty soon so there's not much point speculating."
There had been a feeling that Nash would struggle playing under Jackson and in the Triangle offense but Nash sounded as if he would relish the opportunity.
"The only thing I can say about it is it's won a lot of championships so it's hard to argue with that," Nash said. "It makes a lot of sense in principle. Most people would look at myself in that offense and say it's not a great fit; I look at it as a great opportunity to try something new in a different stage in my career. The Triangle has had such a great success rate it would be interesting to take part in it."
Nash said he and Jackson have never had a conversation during his 17-year career, despite playing against Jackson and the Lakers in three playoff series. Jackson famously talked about Nash's penchant for carrying the ball before the Lakers played the Suns in the 2010 Western Conference Finals.
"I do remember that," Nash said when reminded about the incident. "He was usually good for those to plant something in a ref's ear. I actually kind of like it. It's part of his charm. I think it's great."
Whether Nash ends up playing for Jackson or D'Antoni, he thinks he'll be able to flourish in either coach's system when he returns to the court.
"I think basketball is still basketball," Nash said. "At the end of the day the idea is still to put pressure on the defense and create scoring opportunities. That's something I've had a lot of success at in my career and whatever offense it is I think I can find a niche in there somewhere."
Nash suffered a small fracture to his fibula in a collision with Portland Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard on Oct. 31 and he has been sidelined ever since. Nash said there was no timetable for his return to the court but when he was reminded that the Lakers played his former team, the Suns, on Friday, he said he would like to be able to play that game if he were medically cleared.
"Obviously I'd love to play in that game," Nash said. "But I can only follow nature's path."
- Former columnist and writer after five years with Sports Illustrated
- Markazi has also written for Slam, King, Vibe and Playboy
- On board of directors for Jim Murray Memorial Foundation.
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