Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant won't join the Brooklyn Nets in Orlando for the resumption of the NBA season, but interim coach Jacque Vaughn has kept in contact with the two stars over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"My conversations with those guys are generally based around me checking in with them to see how they're doing," Vaughn told reporters Saturday. "Some of those conversations lead into basketball, some of those conversations lead into life conversations, some of those conversations might lead into 'I have a podcast for you to listen to.' It ranges.
"For me, it's more the connection of them knowing that I'm thinking about them, and that's for players 1-15. That connection piece is huge. I believe in voice and choice, so if you don't have a relationship with guys, you can’t ask for that. So, my conversations have been a little bit of everything."
Vaughn took over for Kenny Atkinson on March 7 but was only on the bench for two games before the season was postponed. Irving was ruled out for the season in late February, and Durant has not played at all in 2019-20 as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles.
Vaughn will be among the coaches considered for the full-time position, but the Nets are expected to make a splash with a big name. Oddsmakers made Ty Lue and Mark Jackson the two favorites for the full-time position when Atkinson was fired. Lue would seem like the most logical choice, given his strong relationship with Irving.
Vaughn, who served as Atkinson's lead assistant, says he has been more focused on the players Brooklyn is taking to Orlando. It's likely the seeding games will serve as Vaughn's audition for his next coaching position.