Less than one week after it was suggested that he would likely be returning to the hardwood in Israel, six-time NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire looks to be returning to the United States as part of his transition to the coaching ranks. As The Athletic‘s Shams Charania reported with a tweet on Friday, the 37-year-old Stoudemire has agreed to a deal to join his former Phoenix Suns teammate Steve Nash’s staff with the Brooklyn Nets.
In July, it had been reported that Stoudemire and Euroleague powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv shared a mutual interest in renewing their partnership for the 2020-21 campaign. He had been a key contributor for the club during its run in the Israeli Basketball Premier League last season, averaging 8.7 points and 4.4 rebounds over 17 contests per RealGM. He played a major role in the team winning its domestic league championship, scoring 18 points and grabbing seven boards in the title game against Maccabi Rishon. As a result, he was the recipient of Final Four MVP honors.
More recently, the Israeli outlet ONE asserted that Stoudemire’s return to Tel Aviv for another go-round was simply “a matter of time,” as relayed by Eurohoops. If that was indeed the case, it would seem that the 6-foot-10-inch forward-center had a change of heart. Now, he’ll join a Nets team with sky-high expectations heading into next season.
After a yearslong rebuild, Brooklyn has finally found its footing under former coach Kenny Atkinson in recent years. Thanks to his staff’s efforts to develop young players like D’Angelo Russell, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, the Nets returned to postseason play for the first time in four years during the 2018-19 campaign. Instead of remaining in developmental mode, however, the team’s decision-makers opted to go big last summer, bringing in All-NBA talents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving via free agency.
While Brooklyn’s big-name duo was largely out of commission last season, Durant and Irving will be depended upon to take their club to new heights in 2020-21. In an effort to help facilitate the ascension, the organization parted ways with Atkinson and tapped Nash, a Hall of Fame point guard and former league MVP, to direct the effort from the sidelines. Although Nash has no previous experience as a head coach, he was regarded as one of the game’s best basketball minds throughout his career.
He also shares friendships with both of Brooklyn’s star players.
Meanwhile, the Nash-Stoudemire pairing in Phoenix was one of the most fruitful in the association during the 2000s, as the two teamed with coach Mike D’Antoni to lead the Suns to multiple 50- and 60-win seasons and several deep playoff runs. Over his eight-year run with the franchise, Stoudemire averaged 21 points and nine rebounds per contest, per Basketball-Reference.