Nets: Jacque Vaughn update is rare good news for coaching staff

Jacque Vaughn. (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
Jacque Vaughn. (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

It’s usually a bad sign when your coaching personnel decide to join another team in the offseason. They may “mutually” part ways with friendly handshakes and smiling goodbyes, but the insinuation is, “An assistant job is not good enough for me. I’m taking my talents elsewhere.”

Especially when you’re the Brooklyn Nets, who house three stars and zero championships, faith in your coaching staff (and vice versa) is key to any winning team.

Well then, it’s a good thing Jacque Vaughn is staying.

Just a day after former Nets assistant Ime Udoka was introduced as the new head coach of the Boston Celtics, Vaughn announced he’s remaining in Brooklyn. Steve Nash and the rest of the coaching staff can take a deep breath of relief, as they potentially await the departure of some other assistants.

Finding new assistant coaches in this job market? To work with three of the most talented but volatile stars in the league? Nash doesn’t have time for that. He’s better off spending time in the film room figuring out how Mike Budenholzer outcoached him in the final two games of the series.

Vaughn reportedly withdrew his name from head coaching jobs due to family reasons, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, which should help this team retain an important voice.

Vaughn has been with the Nets since 2016, which is before they were good, so he’s got the commitment level down. There were rumors that the Washington Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans, and Orlando Magic were keeping their eyes on him for their own vacant head coaching jobs. Of them all, the Pelicans were the top contender to pluck Vaughn out of Brooklyn given that their current general manager, Trajan Langdon, had previously worked with the Nets.

Thank goodness Jacque Vaughn is staying with the Brooklyn Nets.

But that’s all in the past now. What do champions do? They look to the future, and with Vaughn behind Nash at the helm, Brooklyn remains a stable championship contender.

After Kenny Atkinson got dumped (and what a dramatic breakup that was), Vaughn served as the interim coach in March 2020, posting a 7-3 record in the Orlando bubble. He ultimately ceded the head coach position to Steve Nash, but come on, it’s Steve Nash. Rawrrr.

Vaughn served as lead assistant on Nash’s coaching staff this past season, and it’s no surprise he’s one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the league. He has a career 65-161 head-coaching record, mostly from his time spent on Orlando, but he’s also scouted for the Spurs for a couple seasons. As a player, he played on the Nets before some current Nets fans (the Gen Zers) were even born. Back when they were the New Jersey Nets, Vaughn played with Vince Carter and Jason Kidd against the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal in the 2006 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Wherever he goes, he’s surrounded by stars.

And fun fact: if you go to his Wikipedia page, his bio will also say, “He enjoys reading and writing poetry.” A man of many talents, Vaughn is.

The verdict from The Clash song is out: Vaughn is staying. He brings hordes of experience to a battered Brooklyn side that has so much – what’s the coach’s term for it…oh, right – potential. With Nash and Vaughn (and possibly Aldridge?) on the sidelines next year, the Nets will have one fewer issue to worry about. Now, about Kyrie…

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