Nets hire Amar'e Stoudemire as assistant coach: source

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NEW YORK — Amar’e Stoudemire is switching sides with another assist from an old friend.

The former Knick has agreed to become an assistant with the Brooklyn Nets, a source confirmed to the Daily News, joining the staff of former teammate Steve Nash. Stoudemire, 37, who played professionally in Israel last season, will focus on player development with the Nets.

He and Nash formed one of the NBA’s best tandems in the 2000s in Phoenix under coach Mike D’Antoni, who, according to ESPN’s Frank Isola, is also a candidate to work on the Nets staff. Stoudemire was more associated with the Knicks, having signed a $100 million deal with James Dolan and briefly serving as the franchise savior.

Although his stint was sabotaged by injury, Stoudemire signed a one-day contract in 2016 with the Knicks just so he could retire as one. Now he’s headed to Brooklyn to work for a projected title contender. The only other confirmed assistant on Nash’s staff is Jacque Vaughn, and more will be announced as the season could start in just two months.

D’Antoni, Lakers assistant Phil Handy and OKC assistant Brian Keefe are also reported candidates for the staff, with Nets owner Joe Tsai hoping Nash’s leadership and cerebral playing style will translate to success on the sideline. Perhaps no player benefitted from Nash’s playing greatness more than Stoudemire, who was Rookie of the Year and a perennial All-Star as half of Phoenix’s lethal pick-and-roll combo.

Nash won two league MVPs while feeding Stoudemire and thanked his former teammate in his retirement announcement in 2015.

“What do they say about men with big hands? They have quick feet? A’mare Stoudemire had both — and he made me look like an artist at times,” Nash wrote. “Thanks, big man.”

Stoudemire was also appreciative of the Phoenix connection, when he, Nash and D’Antoni established the speedball trend.

“When you’re playing basketball, in the season or in the moment, you don’t realize exactly what you’re doing or how you’re affecting the world of basketball,” Stoudemire said. “When it’s over, then you realize that was a very, very special moment so now we get a chance to sit back and just think about all that, that that was a special moment not only for Steve and myself, but for basketball.”

Assuming Stoudemire will work with the frontcourt players, the Nets have a few youngsters who might benefit from his experience — Nic Claxton and Jarrett Allen, for instance. Brooklyn has a complicated hierarchy with two stars — Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant — who’ve already stated that coaching will be a collaborative effort and they could serve as the head coach on any given night. It’s in line with the player empowerment direction of the NBA.

Stoudemire spent much of the last three years playing in Israel and won a title there in July.

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