Brooklyn Nets Part Ways with Head Coach Kenny Atkinson After 4 Years
In a move that shocked the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets and head coach Kenny Atkinson have mutually agreed to part ways.
Atkinson accumulated a 118-190 record as the head coach of the Nets during his tenure. Assistant Jacque Vaughn will take over in the interim basis. Vaughn will more than likely finish out the remainder of the season as the lead coach.
“After discussions with Kenny about the progress of the season, we mutually agreed that a coaching change would be in the best interest of the team,” said general manager Sean Marks. “This was an extremely difficult decision, however the organization believes it is one that is necessary at this time. Kenny was instrumental in developing our players and building the identity and culture we have become known for over these past four seasons. The foundation he helped put into place here is one that we will continue to build on in the coming seasons. We are forever grateful for all of Kenny’s hard work and dedication to the Nets and the Brooklyn community. Kenny, Laura and the Atkinson family will always remain a part of our Nets family and we wish them nothing but the best in the future.”
According to reports, the move was by no means one-sided either.
A number of players believed that Atkinson has lost a section of the locker room, while Atkinson has reportedly asked the Nets brass to part ways as he allegedly had little interest in coaching Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant once the superstar duo returned from injury next season. Atkinson met with general manager Sean Marks before the decision was announced on Saturday morning.
Kyrie Irving ‘soured’ on Kenny Atkinson early in the season and currently prefers Tyronn Lue to be the Nets’ next head coach, per @VinceGoodwill
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) March 8, 2020
“There wasn’t one game, an event of games (that led to the firing). This was a culmination of events over the course of the year. Kenny is brutally honest, and the humility he showed to say he’ll admit, ‘My voice is not what it once was here. It’s time’ (was remarkable),” said Marks.
According to Marks, the discussion over Atkinson’s future has been brewing over the past couple of months.
“It was after deliberation with Kenny over the course of the last two or three months. They were ongoing. I can’t really put a time on it. We decided that if there was an opportunity for a change and put the Nets in a better place, whether that was personnel on the court or any one of us, we would have that honest conversation.”
According to sources close to the Nets organization, Irving prefers Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Tyron Lue to be the eventual replacement for Atkinson.