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Brad Penner | USA TODAY Sports

Steve Nash should be in his final days as Nets coach, according to Stephen A. Smith.

“Steve Nash has to go,” Smith said Monday on ESPN’s First Take, hours before the Nets will host the Celtics in an elimination game at Barclays Center, down 3-0 to Boston in the best-of-seven first-round playoff series.

“I like the man personally. I think he’s a good man. I’m not questioning his basketball knowledge. He’s never coached on any level. This season has proven, considering the absence of adjustments both offensively and defensively and the lack of impact he’s had on the roster that’s been given to him.

“As much of a mess as it has been, either [Nash’s] competence level is not what it needs to be, or they didn’t listen to you. You can’t have these guys back and Steve Nash still coaching them. That’s not going to cut it.”

Nash figures to be the scapegoat once this disastrous season mercifully ends. No, it was not the coach’s fault that Kyrie Irving refused to get vaccinated — a decision that led to James Harden’s trade to the 76ers and the arrival of the Ben Simmons circus, as well as a spot in the NBA play-in tournament and (what appears to be) Kevin Durant running out of steam this postseason. But Nash is still the head coach. The buck stops with him, and he clearly is not capable of running this show.


And if the Nets aren’t going to fire Nash, Smith said they have to go to Durant with a clear message: We let you build the team for three seasons. It didn’t work. Now we need to tear it down. And that starts with getting rid of Kyrie Irving.

“Kyrie Irving is one of the most selfish superstars that has ever existed in the NBA,” Smith said. “He’s all about himself.”

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.