Atlantic Notes: Udoka, Durant, Embiid, Raptors

The Nets may be having second thoughts about hiring Ime Udoka as their next head coach, tweets NBA reporter Marc Stein, who hears that “strong voices” are warning owner Joe Tsai about the potential move. Udoka emerged as the “strong frontrunner” for the job almost immediately after the decision to part ways with Steve Nash was announced last Tuesday.

However, league sources tell Stein that people close to Tsai are warning him to reconsider any commitment to Udoka considering the atmosphere of turmoil in Brooklyn. Udoka would bring additional baggage after being suspended for the season as Celtics head coach following an affair with a team staffer.

Jacque Vaughn continues to serve as interim coach and has led the Nets to a 2-1 record, with back-to-back road wins over the weekend.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets star Kevin Durant is interested in being part of the ownership group for the NFL’s Washington Commanders if the team is put up for sale, per Nick Friedell of ESPN. Durant is a long-time fan of the team, but he might have competition from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and recording artist Jay-Z if current owner Dan Snyder decides to sell. “Our market is incredible,” Durant said. “There’s a lot of support in D.C., a lot of money in D.C. to be made. … Regardless of what’s going on, they pretty much built that team up, built that stadium, built the brand up pretty nicely. I know we’ve had some losing seasons, but it’s starting to come around for us. I’m excited as a fan. I’m excited about the sale. I’m excited to see who they bring in and who they sell the team to and see how we move forward with it.”
  • Sixers coach Doc Rivers believes there’s a “75% chance” Joel Embiid will return tonight after missing three straight games with an illness, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He looked good,” Rivers said after watching Embiid at Sunday’s practice. “I mean listen, he had the flu and it’s hard. Your lungs are burning and he [still] looked pretty good.” Rivers plans to run the offense through Embiid while James Harden is sidelined with a strained tendon in his right foot. Harden is wearing a walking boot, and the foot is currently non-weight-bearing, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • The Raptors will need someone to replace the contribution of Pascal Siakam while he’s out of action with an adductor strain, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Veterans Thaddeus Young and Otto Porter looked good in Sunday’s win over the Bulls. “They just know kind of where to be … so that felt like the right move, playing those guys tonight just because the schemes were pretty tricky,” coach Nick Nurse said.
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