Brooklyn Nets pivoted amid reports they intended to hire suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, instead lifting the interim title tag of Jacque Vaughn as a replacement for Steve Nash.
Vaughn’s deal spans the 2023-24 season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi.
Nets and Nash”agreed to separateon Nov. 1, after a 2-6 start to the season, when the team named Vaughn as interim head coach. Not an hour passed before multiple reports said the Nets would hire UdokaNash’s former assistant, who led the Celtics to the NBA Finals in his early days as head coach.
Brooklyn fell under sharp criticism for so quickly turning his 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 “spam comments” and “foul languageto a subordinate with whom he had an inappropriate intimate relationship. The Boston brass, by all accounts, were willing to let Udoka leave for Brooklyn.
Celtics players, meanwhile, were as confused as the rest of the league.
“Obviously we want him to be here,” Smart Marcus Udoka told the Boston Globe 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 Durantit is exchange request last summer and Kyrie Irvingit is active suspension for his promotion of a film with anti-Semitic themes.
While Udoka remained the first choice of Durant and Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks, according to longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein, “loud voicesurged Nets owner Joe Tsai to avoid Udoka. Whether those voices came from within, from the NBA, or from inside the league office remains a question.
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.”
Check back soon for more details.
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