The Brooklyn Nets were on the cusp of making a risky move by hiring suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka as their next head coach, following Steve Nash's dismissal. Instead, the team opted for a simpler path by hiring interim coach Jacque Vaughn as their official head coach.
On Nov. 2, the Nets were reportedly close to hiring Udoka. Brooklyn announced its pivot toward Vaughn on Wednesday, officially bringing him on as HC after a brief stint as interim coach (his second with the Nets). The team went 2-2 in the four games played under Vaughn.
Nets general manager Sean Marks spoke on Vaughn's hiring:
"Jacque's basketball acumen, competitiveness and intimate knowledge of our team and organization make him the clear-cut best person to lead our group moving forward. He has a proven ability to get the best out of our players, hold them accountable and play a cohesive, team-first style of basketball."
Can Nets Win With Jacque Vaughn?
The Nets ultimately decided to avoid bad optics brought on by hiring Udoka, whose Finals appearance in his rookie HC campaign catapulted his stock in the NBA, only to have it all crumble when he received a one-year suspension for having a consensual relationship with a female Celtics employee. Boston allowed assistant coach Joe Mazzulla to take over the coaching and granted Udoka freedom to interview with potential suitors.
Geared with a trio of All-Stars, Brooklyn (frankly) needed more of a game manager than a coaching stalwart, which led them to Vaughn. Vaughn previously worked as head coach of the Orlando Magic between 2012-15. The Magic fired Vaughn during his third season for starting the year at 15-37. He went 58-158 as the Magic's HC.
When previous Nets coach Kenny Atkinson was fired during the 2020 season, Vaughn assumed the interim role and went 7-3 in 10 games.
Through 11 games this season, Brooklyn has a 4-7 record and a bevy of issues to fix if they even want to fantasize about making the postseason this year.
With Kyrie Irving still away from the team with an indefinite suspension (minimum five games) and dealing with a constant health scare from failing experiment Ben Simmons, Brooklyn's objective this season may be more in tune with keeping the team from imploding rather than worrying about cracking the top 10 in the Eastern Conference.