Amar'e Stoudemire is returning to the NBA. Not as a player, however, but as a coach. Early on Friday afternoon, Stoudemire agreed to a deal to join the Brooklyn Nets as an assistant under new head coach Steve Nash, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Stoudemire is expected to focus on player development.
Stoudemire hasn't played in the NBA since 2016 with the Miami Heat, but he's continued his basketball journey elsewhere, playing in Israel, China and the BIG3 over the past four years. In fact, as recently as this summer, he won the Israeli League Finals MVP Award after helping Maccabi Tel Aviv to their third straight title.
While he has no previous coaching experience, Stoudemire was a six-time All-Star, and has played professionally for nearly 20 years. Such an extensive playing career should provide him with valuable insight that he can pass along to younger players, which will be his main focus as a player development guy.
Plus, of course, there's the obvious connection to Nash. The duo formed one of the best pick-and-roll combinations in recent memory with the Phoenix Suns in the late 2000s, and their connection apparently extends off the court as well. This isn't the first former teammate Nash has tried to bring with him to Brooklyn -- Dirk Nowitzki turned down a job offer earlier this year -- and it seems he's making every effort to feel as comfortable as possible he begins his coaching career.
Speaking of the Nash-Amar'e pick-and-roll, what a perfect excuse to remember some of their best moments together.
This isn't to take anything away from Stoudemire's basketball knowledge, or how he can help the team's frontcourt players, but it feels like this move is as much about the vibes inside Brooklyn's locker room as it is about Xs and Os or coaching acumen. After all, if Nash wanted a more experienced coach, he could easily have found one. Instead, he brought in his friend, someone he trusts and knows better than most people in the league.