Mike D’Antoni talks Nash’s return, reuniting with Gentry

All eyes will be on downtown Phoenix Wednesday when former Phoenix Suns legend Steve Nash and recent head coach Mike D’Antoni make their return to US Airways Center with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Brad Cesmat caught up with D’Antoni Wednesday on ‘Big Guy on Sports’ and discussed a myriad of topics surrounding the game, as well as former Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry possibly being reunited with D’Antoni in LA. Below are some exerts from the conversation.

Has Nash changed much as a player since you coached him in Phoenix? “Obviously he’s 39-years old, but having said that he can still play three or four more years at the highest level in the league. He’s still a very, very good point guard. He’s learning also to play different with different guys in a different system. We’ve had to change it up a little bit but I think he’s playing well. He’s incredibly dedicated as always and he’s just a great teammate.”

On what Nash meant to the Suns: “If you can’t appreciate what he did for the franchise and for the city on and off the court…also giving everything, how dedicated he was and how beloved he was. When they wanted to change course he obviously wasn’t in their future plans he wanted to continue to play so he did everything right and the franchise did everything right They just had to part ways.”

On what Phoenix means to him: “I love being back here. This is probably where I’ll end up living just because it’s so beautiful here and everything is great. I have great feelings of four years ago but that’s over and I have a job to do so I’m kinda immersed with the Lakers right now.”

On the possibility of adding Gentry to his Lakers staff: “I don’t know if Alvin would want to be with me or not [laughing]. He will always be a friend that’s for sure and we will have some conversations going forward. He’s been a great head coach in this league and I thought he did an unbelievable job [in Phoenix]. Hopefully, if he wants, he can find another [head coach position] moving forward.”

How are the Lakers progressing entering Wednesday’s contest with a three-game win streak? “I think we’re turning the corner a little bit at least we’re playing pretty good basketball right now. We’re just going to try to keep it going, get to the playoffs and see what we can do.”

Tipoff tonight is set for 8:30 p.m.

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.