The Brooklyn Nets and head coach Steve Nash “parted ways” on Tuesday, and while that phrase usually seems like a very nice way of saying a coach was fired, considering how the season was going and the headaches off the court the Nets stars were creating, it’s very possible Nash was more than happy to agree to leave the organization immediately when they talked to him about the future.
As for what comes next for the Nets, the situation seems so toxic that prospective coaches will likely have some serious questions before they sign on to take over the team. For one, you have to be prepared for whatever Kyrie Irving will say or do off the court, along with the looming question of whether Kevin Durant might once again try to push his way out next summer if (and likely when) the Nets let Irving walk. Even if you remove the off court concerns, on the floor there’s a legitimate question about how willing Durant and Irving would be to a coach trying to install a new scheme.
Because of all of that, it shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise that the name that immediately got floated as a leading candidate for the job is a former Nets assistant who has a relationship with Durant and Irving in Ime Udoka.
Jacque Vaughn is the acting head coach tonight but expect the Nets to inquire with suspended Celtics coach Ime Udoka, Quin Snyder, among others. Boston will let Udoka leave for another job.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 1, 2022
The problem, of course, is that Udoka is currently suspended by the Celtics for an inappropriate relationship with a staffer, as well as allegations of using “crude language” with a “female subordinate.” The Celtics could block the Nets from interviewing Udoka, but as Woj notes they are fine letting him leave for another job — particularly given the strong start under Joe Mazzulla. As for Brooklyn’s interest in Udoka, they’ve reportedly been digging into what happened in Boston, as it has been abundantly clear that Nash was going to eventually be on the way out.
Brooklyn, among other teams, has quietly done due diligence on the circumstances of Ime Udoka's suspension in Boston, source told @SInow. With Udoka unlikely to ever return to the Celtics bench, teams have been looking into what happened.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) November 1, 2022
For a Nets team already putting out one fire off the court in the form of Kyrie Irving’s tweet linking to an anti-semitic movie, adding a coach embroiled in a scandal of his own would certainly bring more scrutiny their way. However, they’ve made their bed with their stars and Udoka has proven to be an excellent coach and is beloved by Durant, and as they’ve shown with Irving they’re willing to deal with plenty of off-court headaches to try and make KD happy.
UPDATE: Udoka is not just a candidate but the “strong frontrunner,” per Shams Charania, which one would think is an indication a deal might get done sooner than later.