NBA rumors: 3 Jacque Vaughn replacements as Nets hit reset button

The Brooklyn Nets are pressing the eject button on the Jacque Vaughn here. Here's where the franchise in limbo can turn next.

Jacque Vaughn, Brooklyn Nets
Jacque Vaughn, Brooklyn Nets / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Nets can hire former Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer

If the Nets want the right mix of experience and recent success, it's hard to pick a stronger candidate than Mike Budenholzer. His Milwaukee Bucks tenure ended on a particularly sour note, but Bud's teams consistently win 50+ games and he won the championship in 2021. So, the "he can't win at the highest level" argument is out the window, because he literally has — recently.

There are valid concerns about Budenholzer's schematic inflexibility, especially in the playoffs, but few head coaches provide a more solid floor. Budenholzer understands how to engineer a top-shelf defense. With Nic Claxton and Mikal Bridges at his disposal in Brooklyn, that shouldn't be too much of a challenge. The Bucks were an elite offense, too — and the Atlanta Hawks before them. The Hawks' ability to win 60 games with Al Horford, Paul Millsap, and Jeff Teague should be particularly inspirational to the Nets, who are trying to maintain respectability without a true No. 1 star.

Coaching narratives in the NBA tend to get out of hand quickly. The Bucks' first-round loss to Miami last season was a huge letdown, but Milwaukee was banged up across the board. That was not a healthy Bucks team, and the Heat were beneficiaries of an all-time hot shooting spell. Bud is, again, less than three years removed from scaling the mountaintop. Half the championship battle is securing home-court advantage in the playoffs. Budenholzer consistently puts his team in a favorable postseason position. That has to count for something.

One look at the Bucks' present situation tells you that firing Bud was a huge mistake. Adrian Griffin lasted 43 games because he tried to change up Milwaukee's core tenets. Doc Rivers is 3-7 so far in his Bucks tenure. Giannis is bemoaning the lack of consistency at head coach. Budenholzer's postseason reputation is complicated, but the Bucks' insistence on sudden change has landed them with Rivers. If we want to compare complicated postseason reputations... yeah.

This hire would almost definitely work out for Brooklyn. It's the obvious, "safe" move for a reason.

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