Nets coaching search zeroes in on Mike Budenholzer and 2 other candidates as finalists: Sources

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Milwaukee Bucks championship coach Mike Budenholzer, Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez and Phoenix Suns associate head coach Kevin Young are among the finalists for the Brooklyn Nets coaching job, league sources told The Athletic.

Nets owner Joe Tsai is holding in-person finalist meetings with all three, and a final decision is looming in the near future, those sources said.

Nets general manager Sean Marks and Tsai embarked on a coaching search after parting ways with Jacque Vaughn on Feb. 19 and have interviewed an extensive list of candidates.

Sources briefed on the matter said interim coach Kevin Ollie has been considered as part of the Nets’ process, along with several other coaches, including Miami Heat assistant Chris Quinn and New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego, but the organization has honed in on new candidates as finalists for the full-time job.

Ollie was named the interim Nets coach on Feb. 20 and has compiled an 11-16 record heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale at Philadelphia. He was also interviewed as part of the process and met with Tsai, according to league sources.

Armed with a talented two-way player in Mikal Bridges, future draft picks and salary cap space and flexibility in Brooklyn, the Nets have been an appealing proposition to prospective candidates.

Budenholzer has compiled a 484-317 (.604) record across 10 seasons coaching in Atlanta (2013-18) and Milwaukee (2018-23), leading the Bucks to the 2021 NBA title. He is a two-time NBA Coach of the Year award winner; for the Hawks in 2015 and the Bucks in 2019.

Fernandez and Young are considered two of the brightest assistant coaches in the NBA and have both been serious candidates in previous head coaching searches.

Since becoming the Nets’ GM in 2016, Marks has hired Kenny Atkinson, Steve Nash and Vaughn to the full-time coaching job.

(Photo: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)

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