NBA: Brooklyn Nets pick Jacque Vaughn as Steve Nash’s successor

Brian Mahoney, The Associated Press

NEW YORK – The Brooklyn Nets named Jacque Vaughn as head coach on Wednesday, opting to go with the interim appointee instead of hiring Ime Udoka.

Since the Nets’ partnership with Canadian Steve Nash ended Nov. 1, Vaughn has gone 2-2 as interim head coach.

His first game as head coach is Wednesday night in Brooklyn against the New York Knicks.

“Jacque’s developed basketball sense, competitive spirit and deep knowledge of our team and organization make him the ideal candidate to lead our group into the future,” general manager Sean Marks said in a statement.

“He has a proven ability to get the most out of our players, hold them accountable and champion a cohesive, team-first style of basketball.”

After Nash was fired, the Nets had discussions with Udoka who, like Vaughn, had served in an assistant coaching role with the Nets before accepting the head coaching role with the Boston Celtics.

Udoka led the Celtics to the NBA Finals in 2021-22, but has been suspended for at least the entire current season for having a relationship with an employee of the organization, which is against the rules of the team

Vaughn was in his seventh season as an assistant coach with the Nets. In March 2020, just before the pandemic suspended NBA operations, he replaced Kenny Atkinson on an interim basis and led the team as the season relaunched in the Walt Disney World bubble.

In 10 games, Vaughn had led the Nets to a 7-3 record and a first-round playoff berth, even though they were without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and other players who decided not to play and not join on the team during the relaunch.

The Nets then hired Nash, even though he had no head coaching experience, and kept Vaughn in an assistant role.

Nash led the Nets to the playoffs in his first two full seasons, but the team went 2-5.

In his only other head coaching experience, with the Orlando Magic from 2012 to 2015, Vaughn posted an overall record of 58-158.

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