The Brooklyn Nets have clinched a spot in the playoffs, but they still need a new head coach. Kenny Atkinson stepped down on March 7, just days before the COVID-19 shutdown, and Jacque Vaughn has been the interim coach ever since.
The Nets won’t get their new head coach until after the playoffs, though. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, owner Joe Tsai wants to launch a “full-scale” coaching search once the Nets’ season is over, and some candidates have already emerged.
Nets looking internally, externally
Vaughn, the interim head coach, is reportedly a “significant candidate” to keep his job, and he has quite the opportunity to build his case. The Nets are without stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but they’re headed to the playoffs and have a 4-2 record thus far in the seeding games. If the Nets can make a statement in the playoffs, taking their first-round series to Game 7 or even winning a series, Vaughn would look even better to Nets management.
On the outside of the organization, former Nets player and current Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd is reportedly in the running, as well as Tyronn Lue, former Cleveland Cavaliers coach and current Los Angeles Clippers assistant. Former New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy and Philadelphia 76ers assistant Ime Udoka will also be considered, according to The Athletic. More candidates will likely be added once the NBA season is over and the bubble teams make their end-of-season personnel changes.
That list of candidates varies widely in style, experience and reputation. According to Charania, the Nets are prioritizing overall fit with the team, and are looking for someone who can “build their culture based on relationships.” While that could mean a lot of things, it definitely means that they need someone who can work well with Durant and Irving, the Nets’ big stars. If they’re not happy, it’s hard to imagine anyone else on the team could be.
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