The Brooklyn Nets fired head coach Steve Nash on Tuesday and rapidly pivoted to hiring former Boston Celtics head man Ime Udoka. Brooklyn's future coach is currently suspended by the Celtics for having an improper relationship with a subordinate. It's just the latest in an 18-month saga that has seen the Nets become a national laughingstock.
While we could certainly go back further, the real troubles for the Nets started when star point guard Kyrie Irving refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and therefore couldn't play most games in New York during the 2021-22 season. It was an absolute mess and led to Irving playing 29 games last season while counting $35.3 million against the salary cap.
That was bad, but the chemistry between the team's Big 3 was even worse. After acquiring James Harden in January of 2021, he never gelled with Irving and Kevin Durant. It was a weird mix of styles and personalities -- who could have possibly predicted that? Things got so bad, the Nets finally traded Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons who, theoretically, should have added more balanced to the roster. Yeah, about that...
The Nets acquired Simmons on February 10, 2022. He never played a game for them last season. Through six games of the 2022-23 season, he is averaging 6.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists, while his PER has plummeted to 10.39. He's also shooting 44.1 percent from the field, 46.7 percent from the free throw line and 0.0 percent from 3-point range. Also, Irving is yelling at him to shoot the ball.
Over the offseason, the Nets refused to offer Irving a contract extension, creating a ton of trade rumors and tension within the team. He didn't think the Nets supported him and they questioned whether or not he was reliable.
Soon after that, Durant publicly asked to be traded away from the franchise. Stories lingered for weeks as to what a fair package would be, if the Nets could actually trade him, what his value was to other NBA teams and if a Golden State Warriors reunion was in the works. Eventually Durant changed his mind, but the damage had been done.
Oh it gets worse.
The conspiracy-spreading Irving has now promoted an openly-antisemitic documentary. When given the chance, rather than apologize, he doubled down. To date, he has yet to offer any sort of apology or moderate his comments, and the franchise hasn't disciplined him in any way.
In the midst of that controversy and a 2-5 start, Nash was fired and the suspended Udoka is the team's choice to replace him.
You're officially caught up on the absolute dumpster fire in Brooklyn. An organization that believed it was positioning itself for multiple championships when it signed Durant and Irving back in 2019 is, instead, a complete mess. A lot of bad decisions got the team where it currently is and, frankly, it's been hilarious to watch unfold.
Udoka will now oversee a team stuffed with problem children. And Seth Curry.
Enjoy yourself, Ime.