NEW YORK — Jacque Vaughn died for the last time the Brooklyn Nets hired a coach. It seemed they had someone else in mind when the job opened up again this season.
Vaughn focused on his work, not worrying about whether he would ever have a proper chance to lead the organization.
“I kept doing my job,” Vaughn said.
Now he has a chance to continue doing well in the future.
The Nets gave Vaughn a multi-year contract extension on Tuesday, rewarding him for keeping the team in playoff position heading into the final stretch of a season that included the trades of All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Brooklyn is 34-24, fifth in the Eastern Conference with 24 games to go. But there’s a lot of work to be done to stay in the top six for a guaranteed postseason spot, with the Nets still integrating the four new starters they acquired in the trades with Dallas and Phoenix, and the challenge of a long season in the best interests of remove Ben Simmons. .
“For me, I’m excited about the challenge ahead of us in terms of growing with this group, getting the most out of this group and pushing this group,” Vaughn said Wednesday.
Vaughn turned the Nets around three years ago after they fired Kenny Atkinson in March 2020, leading them to a 7-3 finish and a playoff berth when the season restarted in a COVID-19 “bubble” environment, though that there were several key players. I didn’t join the staff at Walt Disney World.
The Nets then hired Steve Nash as coach, despite the fact that he had no experience in the position. Vaughn remained with the organization as one of Nash’s assistants.
Nash and the Nets split on November 1 after the teams started 2-5. By the time Vaughn coached them that night against Chicago, the Nets had already had conversations with Ime Udoka, their former assistant who led the Boston Celtics to the 2022 NBA Finals before the organization suspended him for breaking team rules by having a relationship with him. female staff within the organisation.
The Nets decided about a week later to stick with Vaughn, who hopes his perseverance despite some disappointments at his position will be a lesson to his children.
“I’ve seen it here, whether it’s multiple coaches, it’s the bubble, whether it’s toenails over the 3-point line, whether it’s trade requests, whether it’s all of the above, and so be still a part of this. The organization means a lot to me,” Vaughn said. “That means the way I carry myself on a daily basis, people respect it. So there’s something to that, but at the end of the day I’ve just kept doing my job and showing up every day and ready to rumble every single day.”
Vaughn was 58-158 with the Orlando Magic from 2012-15 in his previous lone coaching stint. He’s now 39-22 with the Nets and wasn’t worried about whether that would be good enough to earn a contract after this season.
“I knew there was some behind-the-scenes conversation going on, but for me I wasn’t worried about it or stressing about it or putting any extra food on my plate at all,” Vaughn said. “Just doing my job every day and being rewarded for doing that.”