Nets name Jacque Vaughn head coach

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Jacque Vaughn Nets solo sideline

Jacque Vaughn Nets solo sideline

The Nets announced Wednesday that they have named Jacque Vaughn as head coach.

Brooklyn parted ways with Steve Nash on Nov. 1 after a 2-5 start to the season. Nash led the Nets to a 94-67 record, and won one playoff round during his time with the team.

Vaughn was named acting head coach immediately following the firing of Nash, and has been with the team for seven seasons as an assistant coach. His deal runs through the 2023-24 season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi.

The Nets were expected to hire Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, but decided to go in a different direction, in part because some Nets decision-makers like how the team has responded under Vaughn. They feel that many of the players have connected well with the coach, according to SNY’s Ian Begley.

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The Celtics had suspended Udoka for the 2022-23 season before the start of training camp due to improper conduct with a female employee, among other infractions.

Udoka helped lead the Celtics to an improbable NBA Finals run last season, and was previously with the Nets as an assistant from 2020-2021.

When he was in Brooklyn, Udoka was one of few coaches who coached stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with an edge, Begley reported. Durant and Udoka have had a close relationship over the years. That relationship is one reason why offseason Nets-Celtics trade discussions centered on Durant gained traction. Udoka was also an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers with Ben Simmons from 2019-2020, and Simmons played at a high level with Udoka on the staff.

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If the Nets were to have hired Udoka, they would have had to answer questions about its vetting process prior to hiring him. Due to the circumstances of Udoka’s suspension, the Nets would have needed to explain how they determined he was fit to return to the sideline when Boston decided to suspend him for the year.

Meanwhile, Begley also reported that there were some concerns on Udoka’s side about coaching the Nets due to all the uncertainty surrounding the franchise right now.

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