With the Nets trying to survive (literally) the NBA “bubble” in Orlando, speculation about the Nets next coach is on hold. Sean Marks has said he wants to give his interim coach, Jacque Vaughn —and his staff— a shot at the job and has even said the team’s win-loss record in the “bubble” isn’t going to affect Vaughn’s chances.
But all that said, none of that will stop speculation from pundits, most if not all of them (thank you, Shaq) have written off the Nets chances in Orlando. And earlier this week, Brian Windhorst and Jackie MacMullan talked up some possibilities, led by Mark Jackson who reportedly has a good relationship with Kevin Durant. Marks has said that KD remains a “very loud voice” in discussions of the Nets future moves.
Windhorst while admitting there’s been little to no talk of the coaching vacancy amid the Nets musical chairs of positive coronavirus tests, replacement and substitute signings. Still...
“There’s been no discussion, very little discussion about the Nets’ coach,” said Brian Windhorst on his ESPN podcast. “And I’m going to be very interested, Jackie, who gets that job. But some interesting things... If you’re paying close attention to social media. Rich Kleiman, who is Kevin Durant’s business partner and very influential, has been Tweeting about Mark Jackson recently.”
“He hasn’t Tweeted, ‘I want Mark Jackson to coach the Nets’, but there was a story in the New York Post just this last week where it was posited about Mark Jackson or Jason Kidd, who obviously was with the Nets before and left after one year.”
Putting aside speculation about the Nets coaching job, Kleiman is a big fan of Jackson and the Ewing-Jackson era at the Garden. He’s admitted that as a 13-year-old he was so obsessed with Jackson that he posed as Leigh Steinberg, then Jackson rival Greg Anthony’s agent and called the Knicks to suggest that Anthony might hold out of training camp.
“Got in trouble, they called my parents,’’ Kleiman told The Post this week back in March.
And Kleiman has tweeted back and forth with Jackson recently, part of a conversation on great New York point guards. Is that enough to suggest that Jackson is KD’s choice? After all, Kleiman recommended Durant sign with the Knicks.
“It is known that Mark Jackson and Kevin Durant have a good relationship. Those Tweets and the Jackson/Nets possible connection with Durant have not gone unnoticed in the NBA,” Windhorst noted. “There are people who are speaking about Mark Jackson as a candidate there.
Windhorst doesn’t identify said “people,” but he like others believe Durant and Kyrie Irving will have more than just a say in who sits on the Nets next year ... wherever it will be.
“Sean Marks recently gave an interview, I believe it was a radio interview, where he just admitted that Kyrie and Kevin Durant are getting a say in the coaching decision. As they probably got a say in Kenny Atkinson’s firing.”
Once Windhorst finished discussing Jackson, MacMullan also suggested the Nets would be wise to look at Jackson’s ESPN’s mic mate, Jeff Van Gundy. Jackson hasn’t coached since he was dumped by the Warriors in 2014 amid a revolt by assistant coaches. Van Gundy, who’s coached Team USA in recently years, hasn’t had an NBA coaching job since he was fired by the Rockets in 2007.
And all that said, there will certainly be other candidates for the job aside from Jackson and Vaughn. The one who more people are talking about is Tyronn Lue who took the Cavaliers — with Irving— to the NBA Finals three times and won it back in 2016 with Irving hitting the Game 7 dagger.
It’s an open secret that Lue, currently an assistant with the Clippers, wants the job in Brooklyn. It is, after all, the best open coaching job in the NBA considering the talent, the location and owner who unlike a number of his counterparts has done quite well financially during the pandemic, now worth more than $14 billion, double that we had when he bought a minority stake in the Nets back in October 2018.
- Speculation Increasing Within NBA That Kevin Durant Supports Mark Jackson For Nets’ Job - RealGM
- Rumor: Kevin Durant wants Mark Jackson as Brooklyn coach - Kurt Helin - NBC Sports