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Brooklyn Nets fire head coach Jacque Vaughn

Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 14: Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn looks down along the sidelines during the second half of their 50-point loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on February 14, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

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In the midst of a season that finds them on the outside looking in at even the play-in, the Brooklyn Nets have fired coach Jacque Vaughn on Monday.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we feel is in the best interest of the team going forward,” Nets General Manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “Jacque has represented this organization with exemplary character and class for the past eight years. The consistent positivity and passion he poured into our team daily will remain with the players and staff he interacted with throughout his tenure.”

Vaughn issued a statement to ESPN:

“To Joe Tsai, Clara Wu-Tsai, Ollie Weisberg, Sam Zussman, Sean Marks and front office, Nets coaches, staff, players, BSE family and the entire Brooklyn borough: It was a pleasure being your Head Coach. I hope each individual I interacted with felt respected and valued. Just know I gave you everything I had every single day. Onto the next chapter. Amor Fati.”

Brooklyn plays again on Thursday in Toronto. They have Kevin Ollie — who coached UConn to a national title — on staff and could plug him in as the interim coach.

The Nets are 21-33 and sit 11th in the East, 2.5 games back of the Hawks for the final play-in spot. They are 8-23 in their last 31 games. Brooklyn has a -2.3 net rating, bottom 10 in the league, and they have been below average on offense (18th in the league) and defense (21st).

However, the broader concerns were that Vaughn lost some key players in the locker room and his presence could make it hard to recruit top free agents to come to Brooklyn, reports Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Don’t forget that Vaughn was the guy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving wanted as coach to replace Steve Nash, but then they both bolted town and left Vaughn trying to coach a roster where the best player, the guy on top of the scouting reports is Mikal Bridges. This is a franchise that has been middle-of-the-road since Irving and Durant left. They had hoped to build a winning culture and use that to recruit players and rebuild, but that wasn’t happening.

It was Bridges who was most frustrated after the Nets’ last game, a 50-point loss to Boston.

“We got beat by 50. It’s not just let it go. A lot of s*** is not right. And you got to fix it,” Bridges said.

It’s going to be up to a new coach to fix it.