October 14, 2020 | 1:29pm
The intriguing prospect of Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash reuniting has gained steam with a report the former Knicks head coach may become a candidate for a Nets assistant job.
Nash, who flourished under D’Antoni in winning two straight MVP awards as a mercurial point guard, is seeking experienced coaches for his staff. D’Antoni, 69, would certainly be a coup as he’s an X’s and O’s offensive master.
Nash, who has no coaching experience other than a part-time gig with Golden State as an instructor, was shockingly hired by the win-now Nets on Sept. 3.
One source said D’Antoni and Nash are still “tight.”
D’Antoni resigned from the Rockets after being eliminated from the bubble to officially become a free agent. D’Antoni is credited with unleashing Nash and turning him into a superstar as he expertly ran the speedball offense.
Neither Nets stars Kevin Durant nor Kyrie Irving are particularly known for being beasts in transition, but D’Antoni is considered a pioneer for changing the NBA into a 3-point shooting, pace-and-space league. D’Antoni worked with Durant and Irving on Team USA. He also adjusted his philosophy in Houston to take advantage of James Harden’s isolation scoring brilliance.
According to YES Network’s Frank Isola, D’Antoni and Phil Handy have become assistant candidates. It’s been previously reported by The Post’s Brian Lewis that Handy, the Lakers assistant, was a top candidate as he’s close to Irving.
Jacque Vaughn, who was the Nets’ interim coach after Kenny Atkinson’s firing, is Nash’s lead assistant. D’Antoni’s title could be as an associate head coach. Nash reportedly has also reached out to Dirk Nowitzki.
D’Antoni coached the Knicks for three-and-a-half seasons but clashed with Carmelo Anthony, forcing his resignation during the 2011-12 season. Joining the Knicks’ arch rival would be a measure of revenge for D’Antoni, who never felt sour about his exit from New York.
D’Antoni’s career NBA record is 672-527. With the Suns, D’Antoni recorded a 253-136 mark but never made the NBA Finals.
In nearly four seasons with the Knicks, D’Antoni posted a 121-167 clip but the first two years management tore down the roster for 2010 free agency. D’Antoni last served as an assistant for the Sixers in 2015-16 and he interviewed for their head-coaching opening that ultimately went to Doc Rivers. D’Antoni also is a candidate for the Pacers.