Nets moving toward hiring Ime Udoka as head coach

The Brooklyn Nets are finalizing a deal to hire suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka and a formal agreement is expected to be reached as early as Wednesday, sources told ESPN.

Following the split from coach Steve Nash, the Nets are bringing back Udoka to try and salvage a teetering franchise amid turmoil and a 6-2 start to the season.

Boston is not demanding a compensation draft from Brooklyn for hiring Udoka, but talks are taking place before a deal can be finalized, sources said.

The Nets, who lost six of eight games earlier in the season after Tuesday night’s 108-99 loss to the Bulls, will retain assistant Jacque Vaughn as acting head coach until Udoka can take the job.

Boston suspended Udoka for the 2022-23 season over an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate prior to training camp, but sources say the Celtics never intended to prevent Udoka from taking another coaching job.

Udoka was an assistant under Nash for a season in 2020-21 before becoming coach of the Celtics and guiding them to the NBA Finals last season. Udoka has a long history with Nets general manager Sean Marks, dating back to working with the San Antonio Spurs.

The Nets have reviewed the circumstances of Udoka’s suspension and believe he can streamline the league’s 29th defensive line and take the lead in a difficult locker room, sources said. Udoka spent a 2019-20 season on the Philadelphia 76ers coaching staff with Ben Simmons – a player the Nets are desperate to get out of the way.

An independent law firm’s investigation into Udoka found that he used harsh language in his dialogue with a female subordinate before beginning an inappropriate workplace relationship with the woman, an element that contributed significantly to the severity of his suspension, sources told ESPN in September with.

Those investigative findings – which detailed statements by Udoka’s side that were seen as particular in relation to coming from a supervisor at work – contributed to an unlikely path to his reinstatement as Celtics coach in 2023, sources said.

The power dynamics surrounding a supervisor’s inappropriate relationship with an employee was the primary finding and policy violation cited in the law firm’s report commissioned by the Celtics and completed in September, sources said.

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/34925973/sources-nets-moving-hiring-ime-udoka-head-coach Nets moving toward hiring Ime Udoka as head coach

Emma Bowman

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