The Brooklyn Nets plan to hire former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka as head coach after the team announced Tuesday they had mutually agreed to part ways with Steve Nash. Shams Charania reported the move:
“The Brooklyn Nets plan to hire Ime Udoka as their new head coach, sources tell The Athletic and Stadium. Boston granted the Nets permission to speak to Udoka and will allow him to leave freely, sources said.”
Udoka served as an assistant on Brooklyn's staff during the 2020-21 season before leaving for the Boston Celtics head coaching job. He also coached Ben Simmons with Philadelphia during the 2019-20 season.
Boston suspended the head coach for the entire 2022-23 season for violations of team policies. Reports later surfaced saying Udoka had an inappropriate intimate relationship with a female staff member. Wojnarowski said in a tweet that Boston will let Udoka leave for another job. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix reported that Brooklyn had closely monitored Udoka's situation with the Celtics.
“Brooklyn, among other teams, has quietly done due diligence on the circumstances of Ime Udoka's suspension in Boston,” Mannix tweeted. “With Udoka unlikely to ever return to the Celtics bench, teams have been looking into what happened.”
In his first season as head coach, Udoka led Boston to a 51-31 record and an Eastern Conference title. The 45-year-old has coached in the league since 2012, spending seven seasons with San Antonio before stops in Philadelphia and Brooklyn. Udoka has a strong defensive background, serving as defensive coordinator during his time with the 76ers and Nets.
For a Brooklyn team that ranks 29th in defensive rating this season, it is not surprising that the former Nets assistant's prowess on that end proved extremely attractive.
Nash was in his third season as Brooklyn's head coach. He amassed a 94-67 record and won one playoff series during his tenure. The two-time former MVP released a statement on Twitter following the announcement he and Brooklyn had agrees to part ways:
“A very heartfelt thanks to Joe and Ciara Tsaid along with Sean Marks for giving me the opportunity to coach the Brooklyn Nets,” he tweeted. “It was an amazing experience with many challenges that I’m incredibly grateful for.”
“I wish the Nets all the success in the world and the Nash's will be rooting for our team as they turn this season around.”
Nash's tenure with Brooklyn was marred by internal turmoil. The head coach struggled to implement efficient systems on either side of the ball over the last two seasons. The firing comes two months after Kevin Durant issued an August ultimatum to owner Joe Tsai, calling for Nash and General Manager Sean Marks to be let go. Brooklyn released statements from Marks and Tsai following the announcement Tuesday.
“We want to thank Steve for everything he brought to our franchise over the past two-plus seasons,” Marks said. “Since becoming head coach, Steve was faced with a number of unprecedented challenges, and we are sincerely grateful for his leadership, patience and humility throughout his tenure. Personally, this was an immensely difficult decision; however, after much deliberation and evaluation of how the season has begun, we agreed that a change is necessary at this time. We wish Steve, Lilla and their family all the best in the future.”