Nets make Jacque Vaughn coach, decide against Udoka pursuit


The Brooklyn Nets made Jacque Vaughn their head coach on Wednesday, promoting Steve Nash’s interim replacement rather than hiring suspended Boston coach Ime Udoka.

Vaughn has won 2-2 as acting coach since the Nets and Nash split on November 1. His first game as head coach will be Wednesday night at home against the New York Knicks.

“Jacque’s basketball acumen, competitiveness and intimate knowledge of our team and organization clearly make him the best person to advance our group,” general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “He has a proven ability to bring out the best in our players, hold them accountable and play a cohesive, team-oriented style of basketball.”

After moving away from Nash, the Nets had held talks with Udoka, who had been a Nets assistant along with Vaughn before taking the job in Boston. He led the Celtics to the NBA Finals last season but was suspended for at least this season for violating team rules by having a relationship with an employee within the organization.

But the Nets decided not to go down that route, perhaps unwilling to draw more negative attention while dealing with the fallout from Kyrie Irving’s decision to post a link to a film containing anti-Semitic material on his Twitter page .

Irving will be serving the fourth game of what will be at least a five-game suspension without pay on Wednesday, which the team gave him for refusing to say he had no anti-Semitic beliefs.

Vaughn is in his seventh season as a Nets assistant. He provisionally replaced Kenny Atkinson in March 2020, just before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, and coached Brooklyn during the season restart at Walt Disney World.

Vaughn went 7-3 in 10 games and led the Nets into the first round of the playoffs despite being without injured Kevin Durant and Irving, along with other key players who weren’t in the restart.

The Nets then hired Nash, despite his lack of coaching experience, and kept Vaughn as an assistant. Nash led Brooklyn to the playoffs in each of his two full seasons, but the team made a change after a 2-5 start.

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Reporting by The Associated Press.

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