On Wednesday morning, the Brooklyn Nets announced that they are turning to a former Utah Jazz point guard to replace former head coach Steve Nash, who left the organization last week after two years.
Longtime Nets assistant Jacque Vaughn, who was drafted by the Jazz and played for them the first four years of his career, was named permanent head coach.
The hiring of Vaughn ends a tumultuous week after Nash and the Nets mutually agreed to part ways.
Vaughn was named acting head coach, but within an hour of reports that Nash and the Nets were separating, there were reports that Brooklyn was targeting suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka to replace Nash.
The Nets received intense criticism for that, as Udoka is suspended this season for having an improper relationship with a female Celtics employee.
That criticism was coupled with scrutiny surrounding point guard Kyrie Irving after he shared antisemitic material on Twitter, leading to a suspension.
As for Vaughn, the 47-year-old was the 27th pick of the 1997 NBA draft by the Jazz out of Kansas, and he served as a backup to John Stockton through the 2000-2001 season.
In his final campaign with the Jazz, Vaughn averaged 6.1 points, 3.9 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 19.8 minutes while playing in all 82 regular season games.
After that, he had two stints with the Atlanta Hawks and also played for the Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets and San Antonio Spurs, where he ended his playing career in 2009.
He immediately got into coaching, working on the Spurs’ staff from 2010-2012, and then was the Magic’s head coach from 2012-2015.
After getting fired, he joined the Nets in 2016 and was named interim head coach in 2020 when Kenny Atkinson was fired.
He then returned to his assistant position when Nash was hired.
Vaughn wasn’t the only person with Jazz connections who was talked about as a candidate to potentially replace Nash.
Most notably, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported when the Nets let Nash go that they were expected “to inquire” with former Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, who resigned in June.
Additionally, Nets assistant Igor Kokoskov is a close friend of Snyder’s and is in his first season as an assistant with the Nets.
And then there was Udoka, whom new Jazz coach Will Hardy was the lead assistant under last season with the Boston Celtics, Udoka’s first season as head coach of the Celtics after being an assistant in Brooklyn the season prior.
Udoka and Hardy both worked for the San Antonio Spurs from 2012-2019, and for the final four years were main assistant coaches under head coach Gregg Popovich.