The Brooklyn Nets fired head coach Steve Nash after a dismal start of the season. In a surprising move, the front office is leading towards selecting Celtics ex-coach Ime Udoka to lead the team moving forward.
Nets fire Steve Nash
A lot was expected from the Nets at the start of this season. They have replaced James Harden with Ben Simmons, and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are finally healthy and seem to rediscover their fire and commitment to playing and competing. But Brooklyn had a 2-5 win-loss record, which is good for 12th place in the Eastern Conference. The dismal start was simply unacceptable, and Steve Nash became the scapegoat.
The rumors that KD made Nets owner Joe Tsai choose who to keep in the team make sense now. No matter how much Nash or Durant tried to be professional, the head coach was given the pink slip in the end. While this may be a necessary move on the part of the front office, their choice of successor is a headscratcher: Why Ime Udoka?
The former Boston Celtics coach led Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to the NBA finals last year. But in a rather unfortunate series of events, the Celtics' front office decided to cut ties with him in the offseason after allegations of workplace misconduct surfaced. After an internal investigation, the team deemed the offense too great to sweep under the rug. With the Nets hiring Ime Udoka, a great coach with a questionable work ethic, here are five other NBA coaches the team should have hired over him.
Quin Snyder last coached for the Utah Jazz. He has four years of experience as an assistant coach and handled the Jazz as head coach for eight seasons. Quin amassed a 372-264 win-loss record and handled several stars, such as Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Ricky Rubio, and Joe Johnson. If he could get the group working cohesively, there is little doubt he could do the same to the star-studded Nets roster.
He left Jazz after deciding he needed to move on. There were recent reports that Snyder could take over the head coaching position of Gregg Popovich in the San Antonio Spurs once he retires.
Atkinson is no stranger to the Nets front office. He coached the team from 2016 to 2020. Coach Kenny was actually building something special with that squad, featuring the likes of Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarret Allen, and D'Angelo Russell before the KD and Kyrie era. Atkinson now serves as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors; prying him away could be difficult. The Charlotte Hornets tried to sign him, only for the 55-year-old to backtrack and stay with the Warriors. As a Nets head coach, Atkinson compiled a 188-190 win-loss record, which is not that impressive, but his experience in handling superstars could be crucial for the current Nets squad.
Frank Vogel led the L.A. Lakers to an NBA title two years ago but was replaced by Darvin Ham this season. Frank built his NBA resume handling teams with several stars on their roster. Vogel earned his stripes handling the Indiana Pacers for six years and recording a 250-181 win-loss record. He then went on to coach Orlando Magic, but it was a forgettable experience after amassing a 54-110 record. Among those on this list, Frank Vogel is the only one who can boast of winning an NBA title. It's solid proof he's been there and done that.
Few people clamored to give Jackson another chance to be a head coach again. He engineered the structure of the Golden State Warriors before Steve Kerr took over. Jackson recorded a 121-109 win-loss tally from 2011 to 2014, coaching Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. He may not have reaped the fruits of his labor, but his vision was crucial in the decade-long dominance of the Golden State Warriors. The former legendary point guard now serves as a TV analyst and isn't rushing to come back to coaching soon. If he returns, the reason would have to be compelling and hard to turn down. How about coaching KD, Ben Simmons, and Irving? Would that be enough?
Vaughn is now taking over the coaching reigns, albeit temporarily, until the Nets can formally announce Ime Udoka as the new coach. Getting Jack could also work since he has been with the team for eight seasons as an assistant coach. However, if the front office wanted a new system, getting Vaughn could be problematic due to his close ties with former coach Steve Nash.
Also worth mentioning are Terry Stotts, Scott Brook, Luke Walton, and David Fizdale. Among these, Stotts appears unemployed, while Brooks serves as an assistant in Portland. David has moved on to a front-office role for the Jazz, and Walton is part of the Cavs coaching staff. Is it too late for Tsai to ring Stotts' number?
The Nets could have looked at these free-agent coaches instead of hiring Udoka. It just shows how desperate the front office is to turn the team's fortunes around. Can Udoka replicate his success with the Celtics with his new team?