The Nets were reportedly leaning toward keeping Jacque Vaughn as their coach next season. Vaughn – who replaced Kenny Atkinson in March – has only impressed since. Despite Brooklyn’s roster being decimated, Vaughn has guided the Nets to a 5-2 record in the bubble. The fill-in Nets have played hard and remarkably cohesively.
But – despite making a point not to give Vaughn the “interim” title – Brooklyn is treating Vaughn exactly like an interim.
Nets owner Joe Tsai wants a full-scale head coaching process to identify the best partner for team ownership, the front office, coaching staff and players, sources say. Current head coach Jacque Vaughn is the incumbent and will be a significant candidate to retain the job he currently holds.
Several external candidates have emerged for the job, according to league sources: Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, Philadelphia 76ers assistant Ime Udoka, LA Clippers assistant Ty Lue and former Rockets and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy.
A wide-ranging search should bring good coaches up for consideration. It’d be foolish to quickly hire someone – especially Vaugh, who went 20-62, 23-59 and 15-37 with the Magic before they fired him in 2015. If Vaughn looks like the best person for the job at the end of the search, great. Hire him. But Brooklyn should explore other candidates first.
The Nets have legitimate championship aspirations with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and enough assets to chase a third star. This would be a great time to get a coach with a track record of success, like Lue or Van Gundy. But maybe an unproven or retread coach impresses enough to warrant the job.
That’s the beauty of running a full-scale search. It allows all those possibilities to get due consideration.
Operating this way, Brooklyn gives itself a better chance of finding a quality coach.