Things continue to go from bad to worse for the Brooklyn Nets, and it seems it could prompt owner Joe Tsai to reach a new level of desperation.
The Nets parted ways with head coach Steve Nash on Tuesday afternoon after starting the season 2-5. But that’s far from the only controversy surrounding the team.
Within the last week, Nets star guard Kyrie Irving promoted a film involving anti-Semitic beliefs and got into a heated exchange with an ESPN reporter when questioned about his tweet. An irate Irving, to no surprise, didn’t face the music rationally all while Tsai publicly criticized the NBA All-Star about the tweet, too. The Irving-related turmoil, combined with the fact Nets players clearly had no support for Nash, has made the well-documented Kevin Durant trade request feel like a lifetime ago.
The Nets, however, seem intent on inviting more controversy as opposed to avoiding it.
Both ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Tuesday afternoon, within 90 minutes of Nash’s departure, the organization is planning to hire suspended head coach Ime Udoka. Udoka, 45, was suspended by the Boston Celtics for the 2022-23 campaign for multiple violations of team conduct. Reports surfaced at the time noting how Udoka was involved in an “improper” relationship with a Celtics female staff and had made “unwanted” comments toward said staffer.
The Celtics announced the year-long suspension on Sept. 22 and said they would reassess Udoka’s standing with the organization at a later date. That was less than six weeks ago. And while the Celtics have yet to provide extensive details, it certainly was not a measure the organization wanted to take. Udoka, after all, had just helped the Celtics reach the NBA Finals following a remarkable in-season turnaround, which featured signs of greatness from both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown — the “pillars” Udoka was brought in to transform. Oh yeah, and never mind the fact his suspension was announced just days before the 2022-23 campaign started with Celtics players having to face questions on media day.
Brooklyn’s reported interest in hiring Udoka — again, merely six weeks later! — blows through any caution tape the Celtics set up. It would serve as a clear sign the Nets either don’t believe Boston’s punishment was warranted, or simply don’t care whether it was or not. Hiring Udoka, who certainly showed signs of being a good coach, likely would serve as another public relations nightmare for an organization that really should be trying to stay away from them.
But desperate times call for even more desperate measures, it seems.