It’s not just the Nets’ roster that could undergo an offseason overhaul. The coaching staff could look a lot different, too.
Three assistants — Mike D’Antoni, Ime Udoka and Jacque Vaughn — have all either interviewed for head-coaching positions elsewhere or have received permission to do so. And head coach Steve Nash said he fully expects one or more to leave before next season.
“Clearly there could be changes to our staff. We have incredible coaches, and they all are really worthy of being head coaches, or already have been. It will be [likely]. I’m assuming we will have turnover,” Nash said. “I’m assuming some of these guys will get jobs, because they’re that good and would really add a lot to an organization.
“So we’re here to support them in that, and if they move on we want to make sure that they’re in a place and a position that they want to be in. And if we can help at all, they afforded us a lot this year with the strength of our staff, and we would be in a position where we would have to replace a few. That’s something that is to be seen.”
D’Antoni is reportedly the front-runner in Portland, where the two-time NBA Coach of the Year’s offensive scheme seems a perfect fit for star guard Damian Lillard.
The 70-year-old D’Antoni was Nash’s coach in Phoenix — where he invented the Seven Seconds or Less offense that revolutionized the NBA — and again with the Lakers. He also coached the Knicks and most recently Houston, before parting ways with the Rockets to spend this past season as Nash’s offensive coordinator.
On the other end of the court, Udoka is believed to be a front-runner in Boston, according to BallySports. The defensive-minded coach was actually a contender for the Nets’ head-coaching job in 2016 when general manager Sean Marks picked Kenny Atkinson. He eventually arrived in Brooklyn as an assistant this past season but could be on the verge of a long-overdue shot at the top job.
New Orleans has gotten permission to interview Vaughn, along with Bucks assistant Charles Lee, according to ESPN. Vaughn has ties there, with Marks’ former assistant GM Trajan Langdon the general manager of the Pelicans. Vaughn and Langdon worked together in Brooklyn from 2016 until the Langdon’s departure before the start of last season.
Vaughn was an assistant in San Antonio and was 58-158 from 2012 through part of 2014-15 as head coach in Orlando. He joined Brooklyn the next season, and posted a 7-3 mark as interim after Atkinson’s departure, guiding the Nets into last year’s playoffs.