Nets name Jacque Vaughn head coach following rumors Ime Udoka would get job

Brooklyn Nets coach Jacque Vaughn speaks during a press conference before an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh

The Nets have hired a new head coach and he is already on the payroll. 

After more than a week of mystery around who would take over as head coach in Brooklyn, the team announced that Jacque Vaughn would take over the role full-time. Vaughn had been serving as interim head coach since the Nets parted ways with  Steve Nash last week. 

The new title for Vaughn is coming with a contract that will run through the 2023-24 season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. 

Vaughn has led the team to a 2-2 record over the four games that he’s been the acting head coach and it marked the second time he has held the role following a coaching change in Brooklyn. This had been his seventh season as an assistant with the Nets and he had been a head coach previously in Orlando from 2012-2015. 

The Nets made the announcement hours before they were scheduled to face the New York Knicks at Barclays Center. 

“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,” General Manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “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.”

The Nets had parted ways with Nash on Nov. 1 amid a flurry of off-the-court drama surrounding Kyrie Irving sharing a link to a film filled with antisemitic rhetoric and a rough start to the year that had seen the team start 2-5. 

Brooklyn Nets interim head coach Jacque Vaughn signals to his team during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C.AP Photo/Rusty Jones

Vaughn takes over a team that has been out to try and prove people wrong following two underwhelming years that have seen them fall well short of their lofty goals of an NBA title. The drama last season saw Kevin Durant question whether he wanted to remain with the organization before he ultimately rescinded a trade request before training camp. 

Vaughn has been a well-known and well-liked figure in Brooklyn and players have seen to take to him since he assumed the head coach role. 

“JV is a great coach,” Joe Harris said following shootaround on Wednesday before the news was announced. “Just trying to simplify the game plan, you know, not trying to convolute anything, making sure everyone is fully aware of what their individual matchup is understanding the personnel. You know, keeping things relatively simple.” 

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The announcement came after all signs pointing to Brooklyn hiring Ime Udoka as their next head coach, which quickly leaked following the Nash news. Udoka had been suspended by the Boston Celtics for the season after it had been found he had been carrying out an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. 

Nets owner Joe Tsai had been getting significant pushback over potentially hiring Udoka, which seemed to be too much heat for him to move forward. Udoka had been an assistant in Brooklyn for one season and developed a good relationship with Durant and Irving during that time before joining the Celtics as their head coach.