Nets Hire Jacque Vaughn As Head Coach, Not Ime Udoka

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Dallas Mavericks
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After reports surfaced that the Brooklyn Nets were considering hiring suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka, the team named Jacque Vaughn as its new head coach. The Nets made the official announcement on social media. Vaughn will replace former Nets coach Steve Nash.

Vaughn enters his seventh year with the team and has a track record of success when stepping in as head coach. During the 2020 NBA season, the year COVID-19 broke out and caused the season to be suspended, Vaughn assumed the role of interim coach in place of former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. Vaughn led the team to the NBA Playoffs after going 7-3 in his first ten games, despite not having Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving available.

Nets general manager Sean Marks had nothing but praise for Vaughn and his ability to lead the team towards success in his statement.

“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.”

Udoka was originally expected to be hired. However, Nets ownership was reportedly urged to reconsider the decision by close advisors, according to reports. Udoka was suspended by the Celtics for a full season for allegedly violating its team policies. The coach was accused of being involved in a consensual, intimate relationship with a female member of the Celtics staff. The Nets are already under the national microscope after Kyrie Irving promoted a film that contained antisemitic material and the team suspended him four games without pay for failing to expressly disavow antisemitism when asked by the media. Bringing in Udoka when he was just suspended for a rule violation, may have only added to the media coverage surrounding the team.

As for Irving, he is now required to complete six tasks before returning this season. The tasks include apologizing or condemning the movie he promoted on social media, donating $500,000 to anti-hate causes and completing sensitivity training. Additionally, the player must also complete antisemitic training, meet with the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish leaders and meet with owner Joe Tsai to demonstrate a better understanding of the topic. Irving recently met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who is Jewish, and the meeting reportedly went well.

The next time Irving can return to the team, if he meets the conditions outlined above, will be November 13th when the Nets face off against the Los Angeles Lakers.