The Brooklyn Nets agreed to mutually part ways with head coach Steve Nash on Tuesday. It's always a shock to see a head coach out so early in the season but especially so in this case because the Nets actually won last night. The dysfunctional franchise continues to collapse in the public eye.
Jacques Vaughn will take over as the interim head coach, likely for the rest of the year at least. It's the second time Vaughn has taken on the interim title; he finished out the rest of the 2019-2020 season at the helm after Kenny Atkinson stepped down.
The Nets, on paper, are an attractive job destination but anybody who's been paying attention knows it's a very high-risk proposition. You've got an unhappy superstar in Kevin Durant who is three months removed from telling the owner to fire everybody or trade him. You've got Kyrie Irving and all his baggage, which now includes publicly delving into antisemitic materials. You've got Ben Simmons, who will not shoot the basketball. Somehow, on a team with three All-NBA caliber players, there is very little upside.
But someone has to do it, and so here are a few options for the Nets to replace Nash.
As stated, Vaughn will serve as the interim head coach and attempt to navigate the team through yet another period of turmoil. Vaughn played in the NBA for 12 years before joining the bench in 2010 and has one previous full-time head coaching stint under his belt. He's got experience both on the court and on the sideline. He's been around this Nets team for its entire existence, so he knows how everybody ticks. If Vaughn is given a chance and he manages to keep the boat steady for the year, he has a great shot at keeping the job.
None of the various and serious concerns about this job matter if you've got nothing to lose. Udoka is certainly at that point after his shocking fall from grace. His outstanding rookie season with the Boston Celtics is overshadowed by his year-long suspension for an inappropriate relationship with someone else within the organization. To be blunt, though, that's not the sort of incident that dooms Udoka to a lifetime of no further opportunities. If the Nets can get Udoka, they'll do anything in their power to get him to the bench-- and Adrian Wojnarowski now reports the Celtics will let Udoka leave for another gig, despite conspiracy theories to the contrary. This seems like the most likely outcome, although it's hard to get a read on it given how bizarre the Udoka saga has been.
Wojnarowski named Snyder as another candidate the Nets plan to pursue and he would make a lot of sense. He built a perennial powerhouse in Utah from the ground up and established himself as one of the league's best X's and O's coaches. However, Snyder failed to make a splash in the postseason and lost the locker room by the time he was done with the Jazz. He'd be a breath of fresh air for Brooklyn after Nash failed to adjust properly in every big moment. But would he sign up for the headaches that accompany the job after delegating the Donovan Mitchell-Rudy Gobert relationship for the last few years?