Jordi Fernandez officially named Nets head coach: ‘Fully committed to building something special’

Jordi Fernandez was officially named the Nets’ 24th head coach on Monday after days of speculation. General manager Sean Marks will introduce the 41-year-old at a press conference on Wednesday in Brooklyn, per release.

The Badalona, Spain, native joins the Nets after spending two seasons as an associate head coach for the Kings under head coach Mike Brown. The New Orleans Pelicans eliminated Sacramento from the Western Conference Play-In Tournament on Friday.

Brooklyn is adding veteran coach Steve Hetzel as an assistant under Fernandez, according to reports.

“I am truly grateful to lead the Nets as head coach and cannot thank (Nets owners Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai) and Sean enough for this exciting and humbling opportunity,” Fernandez said in a release. “My family and I are thrilled to join such an incredible organization and become part of the vibrant Brooklyn community. I am eager to get to work with this talented group of players and collectively drive our team forward. Together, we will be fully committed to building something special for Nets fans and the borough to be proud of for years to come.”

Former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer and former Phoenix Suns associate head coach Kevin Young were other reported finalists. Young wound up accepting the head coaching job at BYU while Budenholzer, an NBA champion, remains a free agent.

However, as the Nets’ front office progressed through an “extensive search” over the past six weeks, Marks said it became increasingly clear that Fernandez was the best candidate to lead the franchise into the future.

This is the seventh head coaching hire since the Nets moved to Brooklyn in 2012 and the fourth of Marks’ tenure as GM. Brooklyn fired Kenny Atkinson during the 2019-20 season, then hired Steve Nash, who was fired at the beginning of the 2022-23 season. Jacque Vaughn replaced Nash in November of 2022 but was fired in February after a 21-33 start.

Kevin Ollie served as interim head coach over the Nets’ final 28 regular-season games.

“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,” Marks said in a release. “Each step of the way, Jordi has consistently demonstrated the ability to implement strong processes and creative systems designed to optimize each team’s specific roster. He’s proven the ability to build genuine relationships and garner the respect of players of all levels, and we’re confident that our players will benefit greatly from his expertise. We look forward to Jordi, Kelsey and their children joining the Nets family and calling Brooklyn home.”

Prior to joining Brown’s staff in Sacramento, Fernandez spent six seasons as an assistant for the Denver Nuggets under Mike Malone. He also spent four seasons as a player development coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers under Brown, one season as the lead assistant for the G League Canton Charge and two seasons as Canton’s head coach.

Fernandez currently serves as the head coach of Canada’s men’s national team and led them to a bronze medal at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

“We are excited to welcome Jordi Fernandez and his family to the Nets big family,” Tsai said. “Jordi’s character as a leader and his emphasis on structure, process and habits will instill a Nets identity that our fans will want to root for. We look forward to working with Jordi to build a sustainable winning culture in Brooklyn.”