Saturday, January 14, 2023

Magic Johnson Notifies Nets Front Office About Contract Concerns

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NBA Hall of Famer Earvin Magic Johnson seems to watch a lot of Brooklyn Nets basketball. Johnson tweeted shortly after Nets star forward Kevin Durant fell to the ground with a knee injury on Jan. 8. It was soon revealed that Durant had suffered an MCL sprain and will probably not play for four weeks. Johnson tweeted on Jan. 10 his hope for a speedy recovery from Durant, who he said was in the middle of an MVP season.

In addition to the Durant tweet, Johnson shared his belief that the Nets are “the greatest threat” to defeating the Eastern Conference’s top team, the Boston Celtics, this season. But Johnson also shared a request urging Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks to offer head coach Jacque Vaughn a long-term deal.

“Network owner Joe Tsai and GM Sean Marks, what are you waiting for? Sign a long-term deal with Jacque Vaughn. He deserves it and deserves a long-term contract. This is the best thing I’ve ever seen from the Brooklyn Nets!” Johnson tweeted.

The Nets had a rocky start to the season, which led to their parting ways with head coach Steve Nash. It was reported that they were days away from hiring disgraced Celtics coach Ime Udoka as Nash’s replacement. However, after members of the Nets organization asked her to reconsider the decision, Jacque Vaughn became interim head coach and eventually head coach of the Nets. Since ruling the Nets, Brooklyn has had a 25-9 record and has climbed to second place in the Eastern Conference.

Because of Brooklyn’s run with Vaughn at the helm, the Nets head coach put himself in the NBA’s Coach of the Year award. Johnson also tweeted that Vaughn deserves to take home the hardware as the league’s top coach.

“Brooklyn’s Jacques Vaughn is my top contender for Coach of the Year, closely followed by Sacramento’s Mike Brown and Boston’s Joe Mazzulla,” Johnson tweeted.

Not only does Vaughn receive praise outside of the Nets organization from the likes of Magic Johnson, but he’s also received praise from within the Nets players, including Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

“When we came back for this season, the season opener, there was a lot of talk over the summer, but for us it was cool to get the group back together and start the year,” Durant told Friedell. “And then when Jacque became a coach and we started moving, obviously that was a turning point for us.”

Nets point guard Kyrie Irving spoke about the “ease” Vaughn gives them as the Nets’ head coach.

“He gives you some relief,” Irving said to Nick Friedell. “When you come into the locker room, nothing is forced, it’s not too high or too low. He just holds himself to a high standard and exemplifies what a leader should look like. So, as our head coach, as our leader, I was able to learn a lot from him.

“And that just means building relationships with everyone and bringing out the best in everyone. And that was a lesson for me; I felt like this year I just wanted to learn how to get the best out of everyone rather than try to do everything myself or try to overthink the game. We have good plays in this dressing room, a good coaching staff. The level of play should increase and it should get easier.”

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