Mikal Bridges Credit: Bill Moore photo

The Nets are trying to become a cohesive team on the fly after trading All-Star Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks and Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns. Since dealing them—Irving on Feb. 6 and Durant on Feb. 9 at the trade deadline—the Nets have expectedly struggled.

They were 2-4 without Irving when their All-Star break began on Feb. 15. At the time Durant was traded, he hadn’t played since spraining the MCL in his right knee versus the Miami Heat on Jan. 8. Durant had missed 14 straight games with the Nets at the time he was sent to the Suns in exchange for forwards Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, and four unprotected future first round picks. The Nets traded Crowder to the Milwaukee Bucks on the same day they received him (Feb. 9) for two second round picks.

Now they are trying to create positive continuity with nearly three-fourths of the season already played. They are 34-24 and the No. 5 seed in the East, two games ahead of the No. 6 seed Knicks. The Nets have become accustomed to drastic change. Team CEO Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks fired former head coach Steve Nash on Nov. 1 only seven games into this season. They were 2-5 at the time Nash was let go.

He was replaced by assistant coach Jacque Vaughn. The Nets changed Vaughn’s status from interim coach to head coach and on Monday he agreed to a multi-year extension that will run through the 2026-2027 season. From Nov. 27 to Jan. 2, Vaughn led the Nets to a 17-1 record, including winning 12 in a row. He was named the NBA Coach of the Month for December after going 12-1.

“Jacque has made an immediate and immeasurable impact on our entire organization since assuming the role of head coach earlier this season,” Marks said in his statement to the press in announcing the contract extension.

“On the court, he’s clearly demonstrated his leadership through his ability to connect and communicate at a very high level, while displaying tremendous instincts for the game,” also praising Vaughn’s character and representation of the team. “As a person, they don’t come any better than Jacque.”

The Nets have 24 regular season games remaining. They get back at it tomorrow night after eight days off with a road game against the Chicago Bulls.

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