Ime Udoka’s imminent hire by the Nets was literally reported in the same breath as Steve Nash’s firing. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who has a pretty obvious relationship with general manager Sean Marks, even said it would be done in 24-48 hours.
And yet here we are, six days later. Jacque Vaughn is still Brooklyn’s acting coach and Udoka is still the Celtics’ disgraced coach serving a season-long suspension. What gives?
NBA reporter Marc Stein tweeted Sunday night: “League sources say there have been some “strong voices” urging Joe Tsai to back off the Nets’ intent to hire suspended Celtics coach Ime Udoka as Steve Nash’s successor given the considerable turmoil Brooklyn has already faced this season.”
There could be a less dramatic explanation for the lack of movement. The Nets will wrap up a three-game road trip Monday night in Dallas. They will then come home to host the Knicks on Wednesday before heading back out for a West Coast swing. General manager Marks and Tsai, the team’s owner, may still be committed to hiring Udoka, but they just plan to do it Tuesday once everyone is back home.
But then again, maybe Tsai does have the capacity to feel shame. Marks is clearly all-in on this futile attempt to squeeze a championship out of a grand experiment gone completely awry. But Tsai might be swayed by the soft (some would argue flaccid) power of NBA commissioner Adam Silver and others. Because hiring Udoka on the heels of the Kyrie Irving disgrace would be a morally bankrupt decision.
The Nets finally decided Irving was unfit to represent them. Which is the same conclusion the Celtics made about Udoka after his alleged sexual improprieties with a female staffer. Why should Brooklyn think it knows better?
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]