The embattled Nets have decided to make a coaching change after their 2-5 start. Steve Nash is being replaced as head coach, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of The Athletic reporting that Nash and the team have agreed to part ways (Twitter links).
“We want to thank Steve for everything he brought to our franchise over the past two-plus seasons,” general manager Sean Marks said in a press release announcing the move. “Since becoming head coach, Steve was faced with a number of unprecedented challenges, and we are sincerely grateful for his leadership, patience and humility throughout his tenure. Personally, this was an immensely difficult decision; however, after much deliberation and evaluation of how the season has begun, we agreed that a change is necessary at this time. We wish Steve, Lilla and their family all the best in the future.”
Assistant coach Jacque Vaughn will take over as acting head coach for tonight’s game against the Bulls, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Vaughn also served as the team’s interim coach when Kenny Atkinson was fired in 2020, and he was widely considered to be the favorite to become the permanent head coach before the team opted for Nash.
The Nets are expected to consider suspended Celtics head coach Ime Udoka and former Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). He adds that Boston is willing to part with Udoka if he receives an offer. Brooklyn’s front office has “quietly done due diligence” on the circumstances that led to Udoka’s suspension, reports Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link).
Nash’s status became an issue this summer amid Kevin Durant‘s trade request. In a meeting with team owner Joe Tsai to try to resolve their differences, Durant reportedly expressed a lack of confidence in Nash and Marks and asked for them both to be dismissed.
Nash attempted to smooth things over with Durant and told reporters at media day that their relationship was solid. However, the team’s slow start led to a growing realization that some type of change had to be made, and management decided to start with the head coach.
Nash tweeted out a statement thanking Tsai and Marks for the chance to coach the team and called it “an amazing experience with many challenges that I’m incredibly grateful for.”
“It was a pleasure to work with the performance team, front office and players everyday,” Nash wrote. “I’m especially grateful to my coaching staff and video room who are a talented group with so much character and professionalism.”
Nash compiled a 94-67 record in two-plus seasons with Brooklyn, but he was only able to win one playoff series. The Nets were swept out of the playoffs by the Celtics in the first round last season.