The Brooklyn Nets pivoted amid reports they intended to hire suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, instead lifting Jacque Vaughn’s interim title tag to replace Steve Nash.
Vaughn’s deal spans the 2023-24 season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi.
The Nets and Nash “agreed to part ways” on Nov. 1, after a 2-6 start to the season, when the team named Vaughn as interim head coach. Not an hour passed before several reports indicated that the Nets would hire Udoka, Nash’s former assistant, who led the Celtics to the NBA Finals in his early days as head coach.
Brooklyn has come under heavy criticism for so quickly turning its attention to Udoka, who was removed for six weeks from a season-long suspension for multiple violations of Boston’s code of conduct, including allegations of “unwanted comments” and “foul language” towards a subordinate with whom he had an inappropriate intimate relationship. The Boston brass, by all accounts, were ready to let Udoka go to Brooklyn.
Celtics players, meanwhile, were as confused as the rest of the league.
“Obviously we want him to be here,” Marcus Smart told the Boston Globe of Udoka last week. “We have no control over that. It really sucks. I guess it was ruled that whatever happened was enough for him not to be the coach here, but I guess not enough for him [not] be a coach somewhere else, obviously.”
As the hours turned days and days to a week without the Nets hiring Udoka, questions arose over whether Brooklyn would add Udoka to a list of internal controversies that includes Kevin Durant’s trade request. last summer and the active suspension of Kyrie Irving for his promotion of a film. featuring anti-Semitic themes.
While Udoka remained Durant and Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks’ first choice, according to longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein, “loud voices” were urging Nets owner Joe Tsai to avoid Udoka. . Whether those voices came internally, from around the NBA, or inside the league office remains unclear.
However influential Brooklyn’s decision was, the ordeal was the subject of an awkward quote in the team’s press release.
“Jacque’s basketball acumen, competitiveness and intimate knowledge of our team and our organization make him the best person to lead our group forward,” Marks said. “He has a proven ability to get the most out of our players, empower them and play a consistent, team-oriented style of basketball.”
Vaughn, who played 12 seasons for five different NBA franchises including the Nets, has led Brooklyn to a 2-2 record in four games since taking over from Nash. He also led a depleted Nets on an interim basis to the final 10 games of the 2019-20 season and a first-round playoff exit, after Kenny Atkinson was fired. Vaughn posted a 58-158 record in three seasons as head coach of the Orlando Magic from 2012 to 2015. He has also served as an assistant for the Nets for the past eight years, covering four coaches chief.
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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Do you have any advice? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach
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