AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn

Report: Nets Didn't Name Ime Udoka Head Coach over Public 'Outcry,' More Factors

Timothy Rapp

The Brooklyn Nets reportedly had interest in hiring suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka to replace Steve Nash and fill the team's head coaching vacancy.

But a number of factors led the Nets to bypass Udoka and instead hire Nash's assistant Jacque Vaughn for the role, per a report from Shams Charania and The Athletic:

"The Nets changed course from their initial plan to hire Udoka due to several factors, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making told The Athletic. These factors include an investigation and due diligence process by the Nets into the suspended coach taking longer than initially expected, the outcry after word of their plan became known to people outside and inside the organization and the short- and long-term question marks around the team's ability to contend in the Eastern Conference as a result of the indefinite suspension of Kyrie Irving."

Vaughn, 47, had served as the interim head coach since Brooklyn fired Nash last week and also operated in that role in 2020 after Kenny Atkinson was let go. However, rumors persisted that the Nets had eyes for Udoka.

Per The Athletic, the Nets "began direct communication on the potential to hire Udoka 24 to 48 hours before the franchise fired Nash last Tuesday, including receiving permission from the Celtics and engaging in initial discussions."

It would have been a controversial hire. Boston suspended Udoka for the 2022-23 season after he engaged in a romantic relationship with a female member of the organization.

"I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down," Udoka said in a statement to ESPN's Malika Andrews in September. "I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team's decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment."

The Celtics replaced Udoka for the season with assistant Joe Mazzulla.

Vaughn, who has been on the Nets coaching staff for the past six seasons, inherits a team in flux.

Brookly has suspended Irving after he promoted an antisemitic video on Twitter and failed initially to apologize for his actions. He is suspended for at least five games without pay, the Nets said he is "currently unfit to be associated" with the team, and he must complete a "series of objective remedial measures that address the harmful impact of his conduct" before he can return.

The Nets have started just 4-7. While Kevin Durant has played well, the team's third key player, Ben Simmons, has struggled when he's been on the court and has missed four games with left knee soreness.

Add the trade request Durant made over the summer and Irving's uncertain future heading into free agency this summer, and the Nets have been a constant source of drama.

Hiring Udoka would have intensified the spotlight on the team. Instead, the Nets stuck with Vaughn, seemingly in an effort to avoid further controversy.


Read 0 Comments

Download the app for comments Get the B/R app to join the conversation

Install the App
Bleacher Report