NBA Rumors: Nets Considering Jason Kidd, Ty Lue, Jeff Van Gundy and More for HCAugust 11, 2020
Brooklyn Nets interim head coach Jacque Vaughn will reportedly be a "significant candidate" when the team fills the position on a full-time basis during the 2020 NBA offseason.
Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported the news Tuesday and noted external options are expected to include Los Angeles Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue, Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, Philadelphia 76ers assistant Ime Udoka and former Houston Rockets and New York Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy.
Vaughn was promoted March 7 after the team fired head coach Kenny Atkinson just four days before the coronavirus pandemic halted the 2019-20 season.
With the campaign resumed, he's guided Brooklyn to a 6-2 record and helped the team clinch a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. The sample size is small, however, so it's unclear if anything beyond a deep postseason run will have a major impact on the front office's decision-making process.
The Nets are playing without their three best players, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie, and are missing multiple role players in the NBA's bubble at the Disney World complex near Orlando, Florida. The success despite those absences must be considered, as well.
In July, Vaughn told Joe Vardon and Alex Schiffer of The Athletic he hasn't viewed the situation as an audition:
"Not the way I think. It's the way I've tried to process it to my assistant coaches, also. Let's enjoy this moment right now. If the pandemic has taught us anything, we're so connected and don't take things for granted. Lean into grace and lean into gratitude and enjoy this thing. I really have kept it that simple. I hope the guys have felt that with me in the gym, and our organization, the performance staff, the leadership, all of it."
Meanwhile, all of the outside candidates Charania mentioned have been popular names in the coaching carousel recently. Lue, Kidd and Van Gundy are all former NBA head coaches, while Udoka would be taking on the role for the first time.
Udoka is a Gregg Popovich disciple. He had two stints with the San Antonio Spurs during his playing career and spent the first seven years of his coaching career as a Spurs assistant before leaving to join the Sixers staff in June 2019.
The 43-year-old Oregon native explained during the NBA's hiatus he learned a lot from Popovich but is ready to put his own spin on things should he eventually become a head coach:
"The one thing that Pop stressed a lot is be yourself. The fundamentals, the basics, and your foundations of basketball is the kind that we all agree with but you have to put your own personal touch on it and be authentic.
"I've had a few head coaching interviews now and that's one thing I try to say. I'm not trying to be Pop. I've learned a ton from him and you take those things forever with you but you have to be yourself and be authentic. You have to be yourself, knowing that winning basketball is we all learned the right way but you have to be your own person at the end of the day."
Whomever is the Nets' head coach heading into next season will face massive pressure. With Durant and Irving slated to return from injuries, the team is expected to jump into championship contention.