Nets promote Kevin Ollie to interim head coach after firing Jacque Vaughn, per report

The Brooklyn Nets have fired head coach Jacque Vaughn, the team announced Monday morning. Kevin Ollie is set to be named the interim head coach in Brooklyn, per ESPN. The Nets, now 21-33, have fallen out of the top 10 in the Eastern Conference and made a change over the NBA All-Star break with 28 games left on their regular-season schedule. Ollie’s first game will come Thursday night against the Raptors.

Ollie, previously the head coach at the University of Connecticut and the head of coaching and player development at Overtime Elite, joined Vaughn’s staff ahead of the 2023-24 season. Ollie spent 13 seasons in the NBA as a player, and he helped guide UConn to a national championship in 2014. He was a candidate for the Detroit Pistons head coaching job last summer before the team hired Monty Williams.

Vaughn took over the Nets under less than ideal circumstances. After serving as interim coach in 2020 after the firing of Kenny Atkinson, he remained on the staff under new coach Steve Nash. When Nash got fired early last season, Vaughn was again tapped as the interim replacement.

That interim tag was removed following a hot start, but things fell apart in the middle of the season when extension talks with Kyrie Irving broke down and he sought a trade. The Nets sent him to Dallas and followed that move up by dealing Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns. With a suddenly rebuilding roster, the Nets declined. They fell to the No. 6 seed in last year’s postseason, and now, at 21-33, they sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference this year. They have gone 8-23 since their impressive 13-10 start.

The Nets are now somewhat stuck between eras. They lack the star power of the Durant-Irving years, but with the Houston Rockets owning so many of their first-round picks from the James Harden trade, they aren’t in an ideal position to rebuild either. They’ve accumulated plenty of picks from other teams in recent trades, and those picks could potentially help them land a new star to pair with Mikal Bridges. Of course, maintaining a winning culture in between those two eras would go a long way in recruiting such a player. Vaughn hasn’t done so, and now the Nets are moving on.

Vaughn is the third Eastern Conference coach to get fired this season. The Washington Wizards made a coaching change from Wes Unseld Jr. to Brian Keefe while the Milwaukee Bucks replaced Adrian Griffin with Doc Rivers. That means that 20% of the Eastern Conference has already made coaching changes this season, and when the offseason arrives, more could easily come.

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