Steve Nash is out as Nets in the hunt for Ime Udoka


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Suspension

Steeped in an uninspiring start on the field and consumed by another round of off-field controversy, the Brooklyn Nets parted ways with head coach Steve Nash on Tuesday just seven games into the NBA season.

Nash, 48, is off with 94-67 (.584) and one streak victory in his two seasons in Brooklyn. Assistant Jack Vaughn, who coached the Orlando Magic from 2012 to 2015, will take over as interim coach for Tuesday night’s Brooklyn game against the Chicago Bulls. Vaughn previously served as interim coach after Kenny Atkinson, Nash’s predecessor, was fired in 2020.

In a statement, Nets general manager Sean Marks said Nash had “faced a number of unprecedented challenges” and that the Nets “are sincerely grateful for his leadership, patience and humility throughout his tenure.”

At a news conference later on Tuesday, Marks revealed that Nash had concluded the Nets were no longer responding to his training, saying the two men agreed it was time to make a change. Marks said he was not looking for any players in the move.

“Honestly, the team wasn’t doing what it was supposed to be doing,” Marks said. “We fell short of our goals. …we watched games this year, which I’ll be honest, I don’t think we made. I wouldn’t go into the coat. There were times when a quarter was taken off, a half was written off, a game was canceled, and we didn’t compete.”

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The Nets have begun pursuing exiled Boston Celtics coach Aime Odoka as a full-time replacement for Nash, according to two people familiar with the situation. Marks said Tuesday that the Nets “have never settled” on Nash’s replacement, adding that they would target a candidate who is “a competitor who has a voice and will be able to hold men accountable” while possessing “equilibrium and charisma.”

was odoka suspended by the Celtics September season for having an inappropriate relationship with an employee of the team. The 45-year-old Odoka served as an assistant basketball coach for the USA at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as the Nets striker Kevin Durant led the gold medal effortand as an assistant on the Nash staff during the 2020-21 season. Boston, who replaced Odoka with assistant Joe Mazzola on a temporary basis, is not expected to ban Odoka if the Nets offer him the job.

After a turbulent summer in which Durant requested a trade, Brooklyn started the season 2-5 and had the NBA defense ranked 29th. It was the first two weeks of the season full of warning signs: Ben Simmons criticized referees after being attacked twice in his first three games, Nash received his first red card in his career last week for a furious confrontation with officials, and Kyrie Irving was caught on a courtside microphone screaming at Simmons for a shot. .

Meanwhile, Irving drew heavy criticism after posting an anti-Semitic film on social media last week. The NBA, the National Basketball Players Association, curling and owner Joe Tsai all rebuked Irving in separate statements, but the All-Star goalkeeper refused to apologize In a heated post-match exchange with reporters on Saturday. Irving, who eventually deleted his post about the film, has yet to face a penalty from the NBA or the Nets, though he was greeted by a row of fans seated on the field. They wear “Fight Anti-Semitism” T-shirts. Monday’s win over the Indiana Pacers in Brooklyn. This latest saga was followed by a season-long ordeal due to Irving refusing to vaccinate against Corona Virus.

“I am certainly not proud of the situation we find ourselves in,” Marks said when asked about the backlash to Irving’s post. “I would like to go back to basketball. … There is no tolerance and no place for any hate speech or anti-Semitic remarks in this organization.”

Tsai and Marx spent the summer vowing to do so Changing Brooklyn’s Dysfunctional Culture After a humiliating first round match against the Celtics. She supported Tsai Nash in August after reporting this Durant was looking for a change in trainingbut the Hall of Fame point guard entered the season on a hot seat due to unresolved Brooklyn cultural questions and the need to improve internal accountability.

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Nash, known for his laid-back personality off the field, was appointed in 2020 as a player-friendly replacement for Atkinson, who was seen as disciplinary. Brooklyn imagined a two-time MVP overseeing a free-flowing offense that made the most of Durant and Irving’s skills. The plan came together in its first season, as The net was traded for James Hardenboasted the best attacking in the NBA and reached the conference semi-finals, losing a heartbreaking 7 game to eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Along the way, Nash has proven a willingness to compromise on key coaching decisions, such as how many minutes his stars have played in post-season games, even when they are injured. Last season, the Nets cemented a reputation for bowing to the whims of their stars when they allowed Irving, who was ineligible to play in New York City due to a local vaccine mandate, Back as a part-time player. This decision forced Nash to continually reconcile his core formations, and Irving’s inconsistent presence was a contributing factor to Harden’s desire to pursue. Deal for Philadelphia 76ers in February.

So Nash was left without his best playmaker, and Harden’s replacement, Simmons, was a fluke to himself after back surgery and a lack of mental health all season. The Nets’ once vaunted offense has slipped to 16th this season, lacking the speed and ball movement needed to make Brooklyn a top contender. With the Nets headed down the same path last year, or perhaps a worse path, they had every incentive to make Nash the first coach to be fired this season.

“I got to know Steve during his time in Brooklyn, and he’s not one to shy away from challenges,” Tsai said in a statement. “My admiration and respect for him has grown over time as he brings hard work and a positive attitude to our organization every day, even in times of exceptional storm surrounding the team.”

Nash retired after 18 years of his career in 2014, having been involved in player development and football commentary work before being hired by the Nets. His appointment drew criticism because he received a superb party – a big market team with uncanny talent – without paying his dues as an assistant coach. Nash admitted at the time that he “crossed the line,” but argued that his playing experience would help him connect with the players. Instead, his inexperience in managing the locker room contributed to his quick exit.

“It was a great experience with many challenges for which I am very grateful” Nash said in a statement. “I hope the Nets have all the success in the world and the Nash will be rooting for our team as they transform this season.”

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