Stephen A. Smith

Despite initially floating the idea that they might hire suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka as their next head coach, the Brooklyn Nets eventually decided to hire Jacque Vaughn. And while many seem to think that was a smart idea given everything surrounding the franchise right now, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith isn’t one of them.

“Whatever we’re hoping Jacque Vaughn achieves, we know Ime Udoka can achieve it because he already has,” said Smith on First Take. “In his first year in Boston, he achieved what Brad Stevens could not achieve in eight years as head coach of the Boston Celtics, and that was taking them to the NBA Finals.

“I understand this notion that because of all the drama that has been taking place in Brooklyn, and because of the self-inflicted drama that Ime Udoka is enduring as we speak, that it just seemed to be too much controversy.

“If I was the ownership group for the Brooklyn Nets, I would have hired Ime Udoka anyway because you don’t see coaches like him come around every day. He’s a foundational kind of coach to build your franchise around in terms of his coaching ability.”

Smith added that he feels like if the Kyrie Irving situation hadn’t attracted so much negative attention to the franchise, they would have hired Udoka.

“It’s clear that of all the things that Kyrie has done since he has been in Brooklyn, every single year finding a reason to get time off. Kyrie Irving cost Ime Udoka this head coaching job in Brooklyn,” said Smith. “If it were not for the latest shenanigans involving Kyrie Irving, Ime Udoka would be the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets today.”

[First Take, Nets Wire]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to