Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn found himself in an odd position Friday.
With the Nets tasked with weathering the storm of Kevin Durant’s injury, news broke out about Kyrie Irving’s trade request before the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline. Vaughn, who debuted in the role after replacing ex-head coach Steve Nash, has done more than Brooklyn could ask for. The Nets have remained relatively competitive with the All-Star break approaching and remain in the hunt despite a 4-7 stretch since Durant’s injury on Jan. 8.
Before the Nets took the floor Saturday against the Washington Wizards without Irving, Vaughn vaguely detailed a conversation he had with the All-Star in regard to the trade request situation.
“I didn’t ask,” Vaughn told reporters, per SNY Nets video. “… There’s a business side to this thing and there’s a human side to this thing. I elected to touch on the human side and check on him as an individual. I’ll leave the business side to Sean (Marks) and that group.”
Now, Vaughn and the Nets are tasked with keeping their ship afloat in wake of the trade rumor distractions and news that’s expected to center Irving — similar to the media spectacle that followed him throughout his departure from the Boston Celtics in 2019.
Irving also has assembled one of the strongest campaigns of his career, making his request to bail even more of a blow to Brooklyn. The 30-year-old has averaged 27.1 points with 5.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting 48.6% from the field through 40 games played this season.
With plenty of organizations across the league expected to consider Irving as an addition, the Nets themselves will have plenty to consider if they hope to remain in the hunt in the Eastern Conference down the line.