It seems there are people urging Brooklyn Nets governor Joe Tsai to reconsider hiring suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka to become the next head coach in Brooklyn. Marc Stein is reporting that “strong voices” have been in Tsai’s ear. It was widely reported that Udoka was going to replace the fired Steve Nash in just a matter of days. But that stalled amid the Kyrie Irving drama.
“League sources say there have been some ‘strong voices’ urging Joe Tsai to back off the Nets’ intent to hire suspended Celtics coach Ime Udoka as Steve Nash’s successor given the considerable turmoil Brooklyn has already faced this season.”
League sources say there have been some "strong voices" urging Joe Tsai to back off the Nets' intent to hire suspended Celtics coach Ime Udoka as Steve Nash's successor given the considerable turmoil Brooklyn has already faced this season.
More to come: https://t.co/LGN9cVpMwn
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 7, 2022
Udoka was suspended by the Celtics for the season for violating team rules when he had an improper intimate consensual relationship with a female subordinate. Instead of firing Udoka for cause immediately, which they could have done, the Celtics opted to suspend him for the season.
With all the drama caused by Irving, bringing in Udoka would be its own set of issues. He hasn’t spoken publicly since he was suspended by the Celtics. At his presumed introductory press conference he would have to answer questions, if not specifically about the incident, then generally about what he’s learned in the interim.
Then there are all of the female employees of the Nets who might feel some type of way about Udoka being hired. They’d be well within their right to have negative feelings about the organization they work for.
All that and a struggling basketball team on the court, though they’d won their last two games before Monday night’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
This team is radioactive right now. The focus is on everything but basketball and its by their own doing. There’s no need to court more controversy by bringing in Udoka.
Interim head coach Jacque Vaughn has steadied the ship over the last week amid the chaos, and his presence means continuity without disruption. Something this franchise desperately needs.
Also, Vaughn deserves a shot to have the interim tag taken off and become the legitimate head coach. If Tsai and general manager Sean Marks decide to reset and waive Irving, and trade superstar Kevin Durant, they will be a young team. Udoka just led the Celtics to the Finals. It’s unlikely he wants to helm a rebuild, even with the stain of the incident on his résumé.
But Vaughn would be happy to have a shot to be a head coach again, and with a young team without superstar egos in the mix he could build the program in his image. He could instill the culture that’s been missing since Irving and Durant swallowed the original culture whole.
After Monday’s game in Dallas, the Nets return home for a game against their cross-borough rival New York Knicks. Then they embark on a four game West Coast road trip, where Irving would be eligible to return against the Los Angeles Lakers, provided he meets the criteria established by the team.
Depending on how the team looks at the end of that road trip and where things stand with Irving will likely determine next steps on a possible Udoka hiring.