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Nets hire Jordi Fernandez, coach of Canada's men's national team, as head coach

NEW YORK (AP) — Jordi Fernandez was hired Monday as coach of the Brooklyn Nets, who are looking to bounce back after missing the playoffs for the first time in six years.

The Nets finished 32-50 and fired Jacque Vaughn at the All-Star break. Kevin Ollie finished out the season as the interim coach.

Fernandez spent the last two seasons as associate head coach of the Sacramento Kings, helping them win the Pacific Division title last year and reach the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

The native of Badalona, Spain, also coaches Canada's men's national team, leading the country to a bronze medal last year in the Basketball World Cup. The Canadians beat the U.S. in the third-place game for their first medal in the event.

Canada also qualified for the Paris Olympics.

The Nets made five straight playoff appearances from 2019-23, yet have not been able to stick with a coach despite those results. After Kenny Atkinson was replaced during the 2019-20 season, Steve Nash and Vaughn both had short stays as head coach, with Vaughn and Ollie also serving interim stints.

They hope Fernandez, the franchise's 24th coach, is one who could last.

“As we progressed through an extensive search over the past six weeks, it became increasingly clear that Jordi is the best coach to lead our team forward," general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “Jordi brings a diverse set of experiences and basketball knowledge gained over the course of a coaching career that has taken him around the world.”

Fernandez spent six seasons as an assistant with the Denver Nuggets before moving to Sacramento. He also led the Canton Charge to consecutive appearances in the NBA G League Eastern Conference finals.

Fernandez has also been an assistant coach for both the Spanish and Nigerian national teams.

Now he takes over a Nets one that fired Vaughn just a year after giving him a contract extension. They went 11-17 under Ollie, focusing on their young players down the stretch after falling out of playoff contention.

“I am eager to get to work with this talented group of players and collectively drive our team forward,” Fernandez said. "Together, we will be fully committed to building something special for Nets fans and the borough to be proud of for years to come.”

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

Brian Mahoney, The Associated Press