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Report: Nets to pursue Gregg Popovich for head coach vacancy

Brooklyn fired Kenny Atkinson during the season and it isn’t believed Jacque Vaughn will be retained as head coach.

Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs looks on against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second quarter at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 03, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets will exit the NBA bubble in Orlando after being swept by the Toronto Raptors in four games on Sunday. It had been reported that the Nets will look for a new head coach and that coach could be Gregg Popovich. Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Popovich is being considered by the Nets as a potential target. It seems like a long shot, but Brooklyn will attempt to lure Pop away from the team he’s coached for over two decades now.

The Nets made the playoffs and went 5-3 in the seeding round despite missing key players. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince and for some games, Joe Harris all missed games inside the bubble. Brooklyn managed to win, managed to put up some fight against the Raptors, and will head into the future with optimism. If this team can somehow wrangle one of the greatest NBA coaches of all-time, well, look out Eastern Conference.

The Nets will start their head coach now that they are eliminated, as was reported a few weeks ago. Brooklyn will do a full scale search and there were already some big names rumored to be involved before Pop. Jason Kidd, Ty Lue, Ime Udoka and even Jeff Van Gundy are on that list. Per Shams, the Nets plan to seriously consider pursuing Popovich, so there’s a chance, maybe, just maybe, the Spurs legend is enticed to leave. If nothing else, maybe he listens to their pitch.

Popovich has a good relationship with Durant having coached for Team USA on multiple occasions. Durant and Irving are reportedly expected to have a pretty big say in who will be hired to coach them. After all, there is a lot of money invested in the two in Brooklyn. It’s basically championship or bust and no coach is better suited to bring the Nets a championship than Pop.

One surprise name coming up who could become a candidate for some teams is former NBA big Juwan Howard, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.