The Nets decided against hiring Ime Udoka; but apparently, it wasn’t because of the tarnished head coach’s reported misconduct in Boston.
They were afraid of inviting additional backlash in the wake of Kyrie Irving’s promotion of an antisemitic movie and refusal to apologize, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
NBA Insiders have questions to answer about ime udoka
“I think it became too difficult for the Nets to hire Ime Udoka with the events of the whole Kyrie Irving situation last week,” said Woj Wednesday on ESPN. “Certainly not just the potential backlash, but the disruption that would come with Udoka based on his arrival, probably Irving’s return potentially sometime around the beginning of a potential Udoka tenure. I think for the Nets, they sought some stability and some traction with Jacque Vaughn.”
The Nets announced Wednesday they removed the interim tag from Jacque Vaughn, signaling he’ll be in charge for the rest of the season. Vaughn has been a Nets assistant since 2016 and took over as head coach for the fired Kenny Atkins in the NBA bubble.
Brooklyn has gone 3-2 since Vaughn took over last week for Steve Nash, who was dismissed.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Wednesday the Nets’ buy-in under Vaughn also contributed to their decision to stick with him.
The NBA Insider added the “outcry” about the reported Udoka hiring also spooked Brooklyn. Longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein wrote Sunday that “strong voices” were urging Nets owner Joe Tsai to back away from Udoka.
The Celtics suspended Udoka for one season just a few days before training camp in late September. He engaged in an improper romantic relationship with a female subordinate, and reportedly made “unwanted comments” towards her.
But the Nets were seemingly willing to overlook that, and they might’ve, if Irving was playing and not suspended for endorsing hate speech.