On Wednesday, the Brooklyn Nets officially announced Jacque Vaughn as their head coach, dispelling rumors that the team intended to choose Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka as Steve Nash’s replacement.
After the Nets fired Nash following a 2-5 start and amid franchise turmoil caused by Kyrie Irving’s promotion of a “documentary” containing false and antisemitic facts, Vaughn, a Nets assistant since 2016, was named acting head coach. In 2020, Vaughn served as the Nets’ interim head coach. From 2012 to 2015, he led the Orlando Magic for more than two seasons.
Sean Marks, general manager of the Brooklyn Nets, said in a statement that “Jacque’s basketball knowledge, competitiveness and deep knowledge of our squad and organization make him the clear-cut best individual to lead our group moving forward.” He has a track record of motivating and holding our players accountable while playing a coherent, team-first brand of basketball.
The Nets are 2-2 since Vaughn took over for Nash and play the New York Knicks on Wednesday in Brooklyn. Although Udoka was quickly recognized as Nash’s potential replacement, the news was not well received by the public and the media, who questioned why the Nets hired a coach who had been fired by the Celtics on September 22 for “violations of team policies.”
The Celtics didn’t explain what those infractions were, but a number of media outlets, including USA TODAY and ESPN, claimed Udoka had an inappropriate relationship with a team employee and had used foul language with the employee prior to the relationship.
The Nets moved away from Udoka as they looked further into their coaching options and ultimately decided on Vaughn, a former college star who played 12 seasons in the NBA and has been an NBA coach since 2010 beginning as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why didn’t the Nets sign Udoka?
While Vaughn deserves the opportunity, Brooklyn’s choice not to hire Udoka appears to have been taken mostly to prevent extra drama, rather than for basketball reasons.
Why was Steve Nash let go?
Nash was fired on November 1 after a turbulent reign in which injuries and Kyrie Irving’s Covid vaccine ineligibility troubles limited him and Kevin Durant to 64 outings together while the pair and James Harden appeared only 16 times.
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