It seemed like all but an inevitability that Ime Udoka would become the Nets’ next head coach, but that may not be the case anymore.
A new report indicated that the Nets have slowed their pursuit of Udoka considering the baggage that would come along with the suspended Boston Celtics coach. Nets owner Joe Tsai has been hearing from some “strong voices” encouraging him to back off of hiring Udoka, according to NBA Insider Marc Stein.
Adam Zagoria of NJ.com also reported that NBA commissioner Adam Silver may have stepped in and a source told him that “there has been some concern from women in leadership positions within the Nets.” The reporting also seemed to confirm Stein’s that Tsai had been getting pushback and that there was “too much potential drama.”
Brooklyn has already been under a considerable amount of scrutiny following Kyrie Irving’s posting of a film on social media that is filled with antisemitic rhetoric. Brooklyn eventually suspended Irving last week, but amid that turmoil, they fired Steve Nash and it quickly leaked that Udoka would be hired.
Udoka was suspended by the Celtics for having an improper relationship with a female staffer. It was later reported that he made “unwanted comments to the woman,” according to Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Udoka had used “crude language.”
Udoka had been a former assistant coach with Brooklyn before being hired in Boston and has previously established relationships with Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons and Irving. However, the scandal that caused the Celtics to suspend him may have put the hiring on hold.
There had already been some pushback following reports the Nets would hire him, including from women’s advocacy group UltraViolet.
“The Nets represent Brooklyn — one of the most progressive places in the country. To hire someone as head coach who has proven to act irresponsibly in a position of power would contradict many of the standards New Yorkers not only follow, but established as the birthplace of the #MeToo movement,” Bridget Todd, director of communications at UltraViolet, said as part of a statement released on Wednesday.
“As such, UltraViolet is joining the many calls for the Nets not to hire Ime Udoka as the team’s new head coach.”
Jacque Vaughn has served as the Nets’ interim coach since then and has coached the Nets to a 2-1 record heading into Monday night’s game with the Dallas Mavericks.