The Brooklyn Nets are closing in on a new head coach. Former Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez and Phoenix Suns associate head coach Kevin Young are among the finalists for the job, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Nets owner Joe Tsai is holding in-person meetings with all three candidates, and a decision is expected in the near future.

After firing Jacque Vaughn and promoting Kevin Ollie to interim head coach at the All-Star break, general manager Sean Marks said there would be a “robust” search to fill the position. Despite a disappointing season during which the Nets have posted a 32-49 record, Marks has retained his job and played a key role in the hiring process.

The Nets have compiled an 11-16 record while ranking 24th in offense and 15th in defense under Ollie. And while the report says he was considered during the search process, it was always unlikely Brooklyn would elevate another interim coach after dismissing Vaughn.

Nets' list of candidates well-respected within league circles

 Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer reacts after a basket against the Utah Jazz during the first half at Vivint Arena
Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Budenholzer has been speculated as a target for Brooklyn after his dismissal from the Milwaukee Bucks last May. The two-time NBA Coach of the Year compiled a 484-317 (.604) record over 10 seasons with the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee. He led the Bucks to the 2021 NBA title, in the process defeating the Nets in a thrilling second-round series.

Many within league circles have viewed Fernandez and Young as candidates to elevate from the bench to head-coaching positions. The Charlotte Hornets reportedly received permission to interview both coaches for their open jobs.

Fernandez was a player development coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2009 to 2016 before serving as an assistant with the Denver Nuggets from 2016 to 2022. Young spent two seasons as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers' G League affiliate before joining the NBA squad as an assistant in 2016, a position he held through 2020.

The Nets have known aspirations to lure another star to pair with Mikal Bridges in the near future. After moving on from Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at last year's deadline, Brooklyn has seven tradable first-round picks at its disposal, including three distant unprotected firsts from the Suns (2027, 2029) and Dallas Mavericks (2029). The team also projects to have over $40 million in cap space during the 2025 offseason.

Despite a letdown 2023-24 campaign, those avenues to improve will be at the center of the Nets' pitch to prospective coaches.

After joining the Nets in 2016, this will be Marks' fourth coaching hire. The GM's most exhaustive search produced Kenny Atkinson, who he fired shortly after Durant and Irving signed with the team. He then hired Steve Nash, who Vaughn replaced despite reports that Brooklyn had agreed to a deal with Ime Udoka.