Donnie Nelson Won't Rule Out Dad Don Nelson Coaching Again
Nevertheless, Dallas general manager Donnie Nelson won't rule out that his father, Don Nelson, the NBA's all-time winningest coach, might coach again. The dad left Golden State last week in what team termed as having "relinquished his coaching duties.''
"Never say never,'' Donnie Nelson told FanHouse of his dad possibly returning to the bench. "I thought when he was the godfather (in Dallas after handing the coaching reins to Avery Johnson in March 2005), I thought that was the perfect existence. But he wanted to coach again. With him, you just never know.''
Don Nelson was 64 when he stepped down as Mavericks coach. But he returned to coach the Warriors at 66 in the fall of 2006, leading them to a stunning first-round playoff upset over Dallas in the spring of 2007.
There was much less to cheer about in the three seasons after that. The Warriors didn't make the playoffs with a 48-34 mark in 2007-08 and then had records during injury-riddled seasons of 29-53 and 26-56. That led to assistant Keith Smart taking over last week.
"I really didn't get into that with him,'' Donnie Nelson said of whether his father's departure was a resignation or a firing. "It was a negotiation. All I know is that both parties are happy and things are moving on.''
Don Nelson is at his home in Maui, Hawaii. He couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
"He's fishing and drinking Mai Tais and watching whales,'' Donnie Nelson said. "It's a pretty good existence.''
Still, the son won't rule out his dad coaching again. That's despite Don Nelson, who has a 1,335-1,063 coaching mark over 31 seasons, having last April passed Lenny Wilkens' all-time record of 1,332 NBA wins.
"It was important,'' Donnie Nelson said about how his father felt about the record despite having downplayed it. "When you get that close, you hate to be one or two (wins) short. So, yeah, it's important.''
Stay tuned to see if Don Nelson, who broke in as a coach with Milwaukee in 1976-77 the season after he retired as an NBA player, ever will add to that victory total.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson