Grantland’s Documentary on Steve Nash Continues: Dinner with Dirk

Darius Soriano —  April 23, 2014

I cannot get enough of these videos.

Now that the season is over it is a bit easier to reflect on the games, the individual performances, and the storylines that go with them. Nash’s attempts to play, experiencing some successes and some failures, at least for me, resonate even more now. Seeing those clips of him against the Wizards and the Blazers brought a sincere smile to my face. Seeing the fans respond to him so positively did as well. I do not know what next year holds for Nash, but watching him put on those point guard clinics, even if they were only in short spurts, never gets old.

The meat of the video, however, is the dinner with Dirk (and a mutual long time friend). Their friendship, and the genuine nature of it, shines through and you can tell that they serious contemplate what could have been had they stayed together. Remember, when the Mavs let Nash go to Phoenix they used the money they could have spent on him to sign Erik Dampier. Of course, Dampier would later be used as the bait that nabbed them Tyson Chandler and the point guard slot vacated by Nash was eventually filled by Jason Kidd. Those two players were, along with Dirk and Shaun Marion, the backbone of that 2011 Mavs title team and it’s difficult to imagine what that team becomes if Nash stays on and his development continues on its upward trajectory.

Sadly, we will never know. Though, as Dirk says, it’s not like their careers ended up too shabby. Dirk has a league MVP, a Finals’ MVP, and a championship to his name. He will go down as one of the best (if not the best) European player ever whenever he hangs up his sneakers. Nash, meanwhile, has not won a championship but won two league MVP awards and is a top 5 assist man all-time. No slouches, these two.

Darius Soriano

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49 responses to Grantland’s Documentary on Steve Nash Continues: Dinner with Dirk

  1. Ko
    9 mins ago
    Wonder who Dwight will blame this on?

    Kobe?

  2. Hou down 2-0 hahahahahahaha!!!!!! For all the talk about how a good coach is Mchale that team is been clueless this whole series, in Howard defense he did his job, dissapeared on the 2nd half like always but Harden chokejob is for the ages. For a team having a so-called defensive stopper like Dwight and a perimeter defender like Beverly they are cotton soft down low and clueless in the perimeter and frankly everywhere else. Overrated team.

  3. “Re-signing [with] the Lakers is a possibility, but I’m not sure whether to say it’s a remote one,” Gasol wrote Wednesday on his personal Web site. “If there’s anything or anyone who could make me stay it’s Kobe Bryant. I’d stay for him, but there’d have to be significant changes. I’ve said it many times: I want to be in a team that has a solid chance to win another [championship] and where I can be an important factor in the game.”
    Gasol also reiterated his philosophical differences with coach Mike D’Antoni. Gasol prefers to play a post-oriented offense at a methodical pace, while D’Antoni has wanted to feature Gasol more in pick-and-roll situations and as a facilitator in a faster-paced offense.
    “I’ve never concealed the fact that D’Antoni’s style doesn’t suit my game,” Gasol wrote. “Everybody knows this. I don’t know if my decision will be swayed by whether Mike stays or leaves. Obviously, the coach is a very important factor for any team.” [...]

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/pau-gasol—there-d-have-to-be-significant-changes–for-me-to-return-to-lakers-in-free-agency-010839402.html

  4. “Money isn’t important to me,” Gasol wrote. “I have other priorities. A contract lasting several seasons, the make-up of the team that signs me: I’ll need to think long and hard. I won’t just go to the franchise that offers me the biggest salary, I know that.”

  5. I am not sure that Nash and Dirk was the best fit for each other. Amare was the perfet weapon for Nash (if only he could play defense).

    When Dirk won the championship he took up a lot of room with post ups and elbow touches. That is almost the exact opposite of what Nash needs from a bigman, since now he is reduced to a spot-up shooter (that isn’t the best defender). And btw, that might be why he does not fit so well with old Kobe and Gasol…

  6. The 1st 2 games have shown that Houston has no one who can deal with Big L.A. 1 on 1. McHale will have no choice but to send a second defender in his direction. The problem that will now present itself for the Rockets is that, with the Blazers now heading home, where role players – such as Mo Williams, Batum and Matthews – shoot better, Portland will basically send an invitation to Houston to send doubles towards L.A. We’ll see how it plays out.

    BTW: I believe I saw a picture of ‘The Beard’ on a Milk Carton.

  7. Ko, “Wonder who Dwight will blame this on?” I fear this will only increase the possibility of Houston going after ‘Melo, adding him to the core of Howard & Harden. Sign & trade w/ the Knicks for the return of Linsanity & Asik & maybe Parson. Money works. Serious combination.

  8. Big city and Ko
    I was thinking the same thing, either Melo or K Love. Houston has Asik and Parsons as trade pieces. Daryl Morey is sharp.
    So we can breathe a sigh of relief at Harden’s and Howard’s failure this year but Houston will be back with a vengeance.

  9. rr

    I believe Gasol’s comments are genuine and valid. If Mitch really meant it when he said, “Absolutely he’s a priority. If you look at the free agents, there probably isn’t anyone as good as Pau on the board,” then he must take serioulsy the oil and water nature of D’Antoni’s basketball relationship to Gasol and Kobe’s (whom they have already inevsted a great deal of money in) successful relationship on the court with Gasol.

  10. love the ongoing Nash video series; stand up guy for sure; & I got all giddy watching the few highlights from March and April! haha – I´m rooting for him to not only be back next season, but to also be an integral part of whatever we may accomplish – keep your chin up Steve!
    ___
    rr,
    thanks for the Pau quotes and link; hope the FO is paying attention to what he´s saying -
    ___
    Rockets down 0-2….yeah

  11. No chance houston trades parsons …. Dwight just bought him a ferrari and melo or love would not work with their team – only so many shots in a game out of the 3 who would take a bosh like cut in shots and they would be trading plus defemders for minuses only makong theor current problem bigger … they could actually use artest

  12. I know that we all think MDA is gone and most want Pau back (I know I do), but what if based on his age he does not figure into the long-term plans of the FO?

  13. Every team needs some veterans to help the young guns when the playoffs come. Kobe, Pau, and Farmar are needed ingredients for the Lakers – both player and business-wise. We should accommodate Pau, but not overpay him.

    Interesting comment by Colin Cowherd this morning. He views Harden as a jump shooter primarily, with very little defense and average-to-poor passing skills. He says this is successful in the regular season, but gets exposed in the playoffs – see his performance against the Heat two years ago. If he is truely a “B” level player, then pairing him with Melo would be an unmitigated disaster. They would conflict in the regular season and have no perimeter defense in the playoffs – after trading away their key wing shooter (Parsons) and a defensive backup (Asik).

  14. I would say that it is very difficult to project exactly how well Nash would mesh with Kobe and Pau because of his (Nash’s) injuries. Those 3 have not shared much court time at all.

    For Carmelo to Houston to work, Dwight Howard would have to sacrifice his game and relinquish some of his precious “touches”. With Harden and Melo, two dynamic scorers, Dwight would need to rebound and play defense as a priority. I’m not sure if his ego would allow that. He thinks he’s a great scorer as well. Good teams blend their talents: Harden and Melo can score. They can’t provide what Howard can in terms of rebounding, defense and an intimidating court presence on both ends. When each lead player on a championship calibre team does what he does best and meshes it with what his teammates excel at, that team becomes truly formidable. I believe these are some of the things Kobe tried to impart on Howard last year. Dwight never got it. Maybe he’ll be able to learn that lesson eventually.

  15. D’Antoni’s offense made below average point guards, like Raymond Felton and Jeremy Lin, look like all-stars….. and it made an all-star level player like Nash look like one of the all time great point guards.

    I’ve always thought that Nash was easily the most overrated MVP of the past three decades. He benefitted from a PG friendly system that caught the league off guard, and his ridiculous stats had people fooled into thinking he was on the same level as an Isiah Thomas or a John Stockton. Hogwash! Isiah and Stockton knew how to play defense, and were elite players on both sides of the court.
    Nash’s defense was so atrocious, his power forward (Marion) was forced to guard opposing PG’s in the playoffs.

    Nash was so overrated that there were actually serious discussions back than over who was the better player between Kobe and Nash, with plenty of people in the Nash loving media siding with Nash.

    This is not to say that Nash was not an excellent PG, he was. He was also one of the best outside shooters I’ve ever seen. I just can’t think of an elite player in the past few decades as overrated as Nash.

  16. I know that we all think MDA is gone

    Not all of us. I really have no idea, and if I had to put money down, I would bet that he stays.

    As to Pau, he can still help the right team in the right role. The best fit for him in a vacuum would IMO be OKC. Ibaka’s mobility, athleticism, and face-up game complements Pau very well, and OKC may need one more guy to win it (or they may not; we will see) and Pau could play 25-28 MPG there.

    I assume that Kobe will want Pau back and how the FO plays things with Pau (not so much whether they get him back but how hard they seem to try to get him back) will IMO be an indicator of what the FO’s overall view of the situation is.

    Pau may also be affected by who they draft. If they luck into Embiid, that might mean Pau is gone. Ditto if they get Randle. If they get Smart, Gordon, Vonleh, or Exum, I think that might make it more likely that they try to keep Pau.

  17. I hate to say it, but I don´t believe MD´A is gone either.
    Just hope he does a better job with the team in general. Hope he proves me (& most of us) all wrong! sigh…

  18. I also think MDA stays. What’s the point of hiring a new coach when the team needs to tank again next year? But if it were up to me I wouldnt bring MDA back. He gets too many wins with bad talent. The Lakers got ten more wins than their roster deserved.

  19. Bear in mind, Pau is not the only player who would not return to the Lakers if MDA is retained. Jordan Hill would also decline to return. Neither player is perfect. I understand that. (Is there such a thing as a perfect player?) But if the Lakers lose both Hill and Gasol–I’m conceding that Chris Kaman wouldn’t even think of returning–then that means that the Lakers will have lost 4 skilled big men, Dwight Howard, Pau, Hill, and Kaman, in the span of 12-13 months. That would be a devastating blow to any franchise.

    And who would replace them? What big man in the game–worth of the designation–is dying to come to play for D’Antoni?

    Surely, the FO must be weighing these matters. Are the fans the only ones to realize that if D’Antoni stays on, the front line will be a shambles?

    And if D’Antoni is the coach, what will Kobe think?

  20. Not sure Carmelo would work in Houston. Carmelo is becoming primarily a post up player. He would occupy the same space on the floor that Howard wants. Plus, the Rockets want to run. Part of their problem now is trying to accommodate Howard’s desire to post up with everyone else’s desire to run. Slowing down and posting up Howard is killing the rhythm of their perimeter players. With Carmelo this problem wouldn’t go away.

    Houston is learning that becoming a real contender is so much more than just adding talent. Coaching is important. I’m not sure McHale is the guy for that team. And the players themselves have to improve. They will never be a legit contender with Harden playing that ghost defense of his. Plus, Harden is one of those players who inflates his numbers with free throws. That doesn’t work in the playoffs. You have to actually score field goals in the playoffs.

  21. Get rid of MDA to keep Pau? Sign me up!

    http://dlvr.it/5TjZPf

  22. I actually think MDA will get another year and we will actually improve because enough players will return from injury + we’ll get a good young player. However, this team won’t be a contender with MDA. If he stays on it will be a minimum four years before contention. Two years of middling teams before he’s fired and then two years with (hopefully the right coach) to build a winner.

  23. Is D12 Happy? (sing with me)

    D12 is the best center in the league and has been for awhile. The problem is he is the Larry Holmes of the NBA. He is not a dominant force. He is not close to being one of the best of all-time just the best at this time. Some say the same about Tyson, but we can save that for another day. Back to D12. This was the dilemma when we got him. We say that he cannot be the go to guy. But if you did not acquiesce to his desires, he moped. He was not a typical Laker center and this may be Houston’s plight. Even though playoff basketball dictates slowing the ball down and posting, how can you do that if your center can’t hit a free throw.

    Last point if he is this freak of nature defensive stopper, why wasn’t he placed on Aldridge??!!??

  24. darius: we know that when the time is right, you’ll have a post as to why coach d’antoni will be referred to in the past tense. till then, all speculation is just that and moot.

    for me, I would rather we hear starting next season the reason laker players continue to have a rash of injuries is due to the new coach’s style of play instead of saying that the continued injury trend is due to the coaching style of coach d’antoni. it’s been that kind of season.

    Go lakers

  25. It would have been great to see Steve and Dirk stay together and play over the years but I agree with Dirk what made Steve Steve was Amare’s rolling to the basket on the pick and roll. Maybe they could have signed another Amare type player to do that and Dirk with the pick and pop. I still think that they could have been something special along the lines of Stockton/Malone, but with a championship or two.

    I feel the same way about KG and Steph if they had been able to stay together. Maybe not championship wise, but a growth that would have made them a lethal combo.

  26. rr: As to Pau, he can still help the right team in the right role. The best fit for him in a vacuum would IMO be OKC.

    —–

    I agree. However, since OKC can not sign Pau for anything other than a minimum contract, can we do a sign and trade with them? They have a young center, from New Zealand, who I believe will be a star. Perhaps Pau puts them over the top for two years or so and we get another building block for the future.

  27. Matt – I’m not sure if the new CBA allows the Lakers to do sign and trade. Maybe someone can answer definitively…

    If the Lakers could sign and trade Pau they would only do so if they were willing to admit they are more than a few years away. I personally think they are. However, I think the FO believes they can make a run next year.

  28. Is D12 Happy? (sing with me)
    ___
    hahahahaha, doesn´t surprise me one bit, coming from you! ;)
    (as an aside, I´ve always been a fan of Aldrige´s, so the more power to him in this series!)

  29. So Mike D is so good that his own brother leaves him?

    Nice

  30. Lance Stevenson watch: 21 pts, 13 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl

    UFA–just say’in

  31. If Dwight is such a good defender, why isn’t he put on ALdridge?
    Aldridge scored 40+ points in 2 games, did no one thought of putting HOward on him, or is Howard not good at defending Aldridge?

  32. Mid Wilshire makes an excellent point on bigs. Outside of Robert Sacre what post player really wants to play here with Mike coaching? Because if he stays all the Lakers bigs are gone (except Sacre). With no bigs and no defense (because Mike will not coach defense) how good can the Lakers really be next year? Even if everyone is healthy there is no way they can move the needle in the Western Conference playing zero defense with no skilled bigs.

    And unless they do a true blue tank job next season they don’t have their first round pick. So next season is either win close to 50 games and make the playoffs, or lose even better than they did this season and keep their first round pick. With D’Antoni and no (good) bigs I can’t see the former. And with Kobe hopefully playing decent minutes I can’t see the latter.

  33. Pau Gasol is an important piece as a 3rd star. Only problem is his legs have left him.

    I wouldnt be opposed to re-signing him back, I prefer not, but if the Lakers cannot sign a big time FA and still keep all of its guys. Hill, Kaman and Pau are all possible players of another team.

    Bryant and Gasol cannot defend the transition for 82 games and expect to be healthy come playoff time, atleast not as 35mpg players. The Lakers need to surround them with athletes that can do the job. Hill is a candidate for return in the right scenario. I believe he has a good pricetag we should keep someone like him long term.

    The Lakers need to be creative in deals. Deal Nash’s contract for something smaller but longer, someone who’s conceivably part of the next team.

  34. Read the Arnovitz article. These prospective head coaches all sound about 8 worlds better than Antoni ( D intentionally omitted).

  35. WWL-
    We aren’t going to keep any of the 3 bigs that you listed if MDA remains our head coach.

  36. Parrothead Phil April 25, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Disappointing result last night in Oakland. A couple of questionable calls/no-calls late, but GSW should not have let themselves fall behind by 18 points such that late game calls affect the outcome. Since Curry and Thompson were able to get going late, I am optimistic that the series will be tied up heading back to Staples. (Not expecting GSW to win the series, but it could happen)

  37. D’Antoni has rode to prevalence on Nash’s coattails. The dirty little secret is Dallas’ offense with Nash was just as efficient as it was with Phoenix, the Suns were just playing at a faster pace so it looked more impressive. Nash has basically said as much in interviews. The truth is Nash is probably the best shooter in NBA history with sublime point guard skills, any team with Nash in his prime and some decent offensive weapons was going to have an elite offense.

    As far as I’m concerned D’Antoni deserves the same amount of credit for the those mid-2000 Suns teams as John Fox deserves credit for Peyton Manning running no huddle and then smashing all the offensive records.

  38. KenOak, here’s a practical scenario:

    The mid-level exception is worth 5 million. Thats something Jordan Hill gets on his next team. He’s young, he’s got something to prove. He wants the security and he loves it in LA. Even if MDA is still the coach, if Pau walked, Kaman too, the possibility of retaining Hill is very high.

    His cap hold is worth 6.5 million. If you want his bird rights going forward, that’s an amount you need to deal with. You can sign him for 5.5M starting and 4 years, he will not refuse that.

    He wants the money, security and the starting position.

    The only question is are we willing to shed that ‘much’ on Jordan Hill.

  39. “What’s the point of hiring a new coach when the team needs to tank again next year? But if it were up to me I wouldnt bring MDA back. He gets too many wins with bad talent. The Lakers got ten more wins than their roster deserved.”

    Depends on health. If the Lakers had Kobe and Pau playing at a good pace, within a more disciplined system that favors their strengths and a better defense than they’ve had under D’Antoni, the team’s likely not going to end up at the bottom of the standings. With no post interior presence, running Kobe into the ground, and everyone constantly scrambling, MDA could be the best chance for having another season like this one.

  40. In the light of all these FA decisions going forward, right now there’s too much unknown to know fully. Jordan Hill is one of the better free agents out there and he deserves every bit of the mid-level.

    Pau Gasol is a good player even without his legs. I just think one old guy is enough.

  41. We have covered these issues before–my view is:

    1. Nash was an All-Star in Dallas and his rate stats went up a little in 7SOL, but MDA didn’t make him, or Stoudemire, for that matter. Dallas let Nash walk because he was hitting his 30s and wanted a lot of money. I saw Stockton, and Thomas–a lot. Nash is in their general class as a player, although he was not as good on D as either of them.
    2. D’Antoni did do an outstanding job in PHX of adapting to his talent. I think most coaches would have played Stoudemire at the 4, Marion at the 3, Johnson at the 2, and gotten the FO to trade for a traditional 5. And of course, as discussed the other day, that is exactly what Steve Kerr and Terry Porter did when they took over before Kerr reversed course.

    But one main problem that I have seen with D’Antoni are that he now seems wedded to 7SOL on faith, seems to want to re-create 2007, and tries to shoehorn whomever he has into it. It is also worth noting that in his two post-PHX stops, the FOs in NY and LA made massive commitments to the key pieces of 7SOL and both commitments were disasters. The Knicks spent over 100M to bring in Stoudemire, owe him 23.4M next year, and will not really be able to start rebuilding until he is gone. Then the Lakers spent 27M and 4 draft picks to bring in Nash, as we all know.

    The other problem with D’Antoni is, as Shelburne said recently, that is he is not a great communicator. He seems to freeze out players, ignore them, jerk them around, is prone to sarcasm in public, and according to many who have been around his teams, avoids confrontation and lets things fester. This seemed to be a real problem with the 2013 Lakers team and again with a few guys (as noted many times, the bigs) on the team this past year.

    That trait was no problem in PHX, since he had Steve The World’s Greatest Teammate Nash, was winning a ton of games, and the team was mostly youngish guys on an upward arc. The situations he inherited in NY and LA were much more complex, had complex/difficult personalities like Anthony, Howard, Pau, and Kobe, and things have not worked out very well.

  42. Dunno where you guys get the idea of tanking in 2014 with Kobe on board. 2013 was really understandable as he was coming from Achilles tendon tear. 2014 he’s recovering from knee injury. Its not the same.

    Also, have you seen how atrocious these other teams are? The Lakers do not have the luxury of tanking and still being safe because the Suns own the pick (top 5 protected) and its too much a risk to tank like this year, only to land #6 and hand a silver platter to the Suns.

    If you ask me, the Lakers start competing this year, but retain flexibility for next year.

  43. A few guys could be coaching for their jobs right now if their teams receive 1st round exits. Among the interesting candidates are Frank Vogel, Mark Jackson, Scott Brooks and, although unlikely, Tom Thibodeau. Not sure how realistic/possible it is that any of these guys will be available, but I think there may be some merit in holding off any coaching decision until the season concludes. Just my 2 cents.

  44. I think Brooks will get fired if OKC loses to Memphis, and if in so losing he continues to give extensive court time to Fisher and Perkins. The core players in GS supposedly really like Jackson, and the Warriors are trying to beat the Clippers while playing without Andrew Bogut. I think Jackson will probably get another year even if the Clippers beat them.

    As to Vogel, Indiana’s GM, Kevin Pritchard, had a sarcastic message Tweet yesterday, saying that Larry Bird’s “sources” have told him that Vogel’s job is safe (Bird is the Pacers’ Team President). A loss to Atlanta would obviously be a disaster for Indiana, but I don’t see Bird canning Vogel yet.

  45. I also do not see Thibodeau getting fired if the Bulls lose to Washington. I do think, however, that he will be a given a directive to ease up on the throttle during the season. If the Bulls lose to the Wiz, I think that will mean that Reinsdorf will bite the financial bullet and amnesty Boozer, and Chicago will seriously try to bring in Anthony and Mirotic.

  46. “Dunno where you guys get the idea of tanking in 2014 with Kobe on board… If you ask me, the Lakers start competing this year, but retain flexibility for next year.”

    The Lakers wanted to compete this year, and they’ll want to compete next, but there’s reality. I doubt they’re planning on a championship in the 2014-15 season. There appears to be no real opportunity to acquire that kind of talent, and they tend to show patience in that regard. I expect they’ll want to try to be a decent team that makes the playoffs, and then with the hope they’re healthy and playing well at that time. Nobody who works for or has an actual stake in the Lakers wants to go through the pain and depreciation of another bad season. The idea that, because they’re lagging behind some better teams, they’re going to throw the season away, is just fan fantasy. Sorry to burst any bubbles, but it doesn’t work that way. :)

  47. I strongly suggest anyone who thinks Mark Jackson is such a great deal read up on him a bit.

    For one thing, it appears he can’t even manage some of the people he hires. As one example, an assistant he hired has been stashed elsewhere by the FO rather than being let go. Hmmm, wonder what that means once the Clips finish wiping the floor with the Warriors?

    Well, I’m thinking Jackson may then become available, but that doesn’t make him a treasure. As a coach, he’s long on charisma and short on ability. Reminds me of a one-time Bay Area coach, also long on presence and short on head coaching ability: ex 49ers coach Mike Singletary.

    I believe Singletary is an Assistant Coach again somewhere. Jackson could return to that … oh, wait a minute, he had NO coaching experience at any level before he took the Warriors head coaching job! Hmmm …

    Yeah, the players like him … that’s nice, but doesn’t really mean all that much. It could also be argued they have under-achieved this year, not just in the playoffs, where they at least have the excuse that Bogut is out.