Marc Stein and Mike Mazzeo of ESPN report that in addition to two previously mentioned candidates --Ettore Messine and Jeff Van Gundy, Sean Marks is considering another Spurs assistant, Ime Udoka, for the Nets coaching opening.
NBA coaching sources say new Nets GM Sean Marks, meanwhile, has interest in former Spurs coaching colleagues Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) April 13, 2016
The Nets will be launching their own coaching search soon and also have interest in ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy, according to league sources.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) April 13, 2016
Messina, of course, has been mentioned a number of times, mainly because he checks off so many boxes. Not only is he Gregg Popovich's lead assistant, he has a long record as one of the top coaches worldwide, having spent his best years working for Mikhail Prokhorov (and Nets board member Sergey Kushchenko) at CSKA Moscow.
Van Gundy had his best years in New York, taking the Knicks to the NBA Finals as head coach in 1999 and working under Pat Riley when the Knicks went to the Finals five years earlier. He would bring not just coaching chops to the Nets but some pizzazz to the Nets-Knicks rivalry. JVG coached the Rockets as well, then left in 2007 for the broadcast booth. He has been mentioned as a Nets coaching candidate on more than one occasion since the team moved to Brooklyn.
Udoka is the new name. Only 38 years old, Udoka has been with the Spurs coaching staff since 2012, when both Marks and assistant GM, Trajan Langdon, also started their post-professional careers in San Antonio's front office. A journeyman small forward for parts of seven years in New York, Portland, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Antonio, his last NBA minutes were spent in a Nets uniform. He was cut from training camp in favor of Dennis Horner after eight days in 2011. Udoka is given credit for helping the Spurs sign his old Trail Blazer teammate LaMarcus Aldridge, last summer. Marks and Udoka were assistant coaches on the Spurs 2014 championship team, while Langdon was a pro scout.
A couple of big names aren't on the list. Mazzeo writes, "There is a rising belief in NBA coaching circles that the Nets will not be in the mix for Tom Thibodeau or David Blatt, but sources say the search process is still evolving and only in its infancy." In discussing Thibodeau, Marks has seemed lukewarm to the former Bulls head coach, saying he'll have many options this summer.
Prokhorov, Kushchenko, and Nets chairman Dmitry Razumov are in town for the Nets finale and presumably planning meetings.