The Brooklyn Nets have made an unexpected move. On Saturday morning, they announced that they were “mutually parting ways” with head coach Kenny Atkinson.
The Brooklyn Nets and Head Coach Kenny Atkinson have mutually agreed to part ways. Jacque Vaughn will serve as head coach for the remainder of the season.— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 7, 2020
Assistant Jacque Vaughn will serve as interim head coach for the rest of the Nets’ season.
Nets general manager Sean Marks released a statement about Atkinson’s ostensible firing.
“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. 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.”
Atkinson, a former college and international professional player, was hired by the Nets in 2016 after spending almost a decade on the coaching staffs of the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks. He has a 118-190 overall record with the Nets. Despite significant injuries to their roster this season, Atkinson has coached the team to seventh place in the East with a 28-34 record.
So why was Atkinson fired? It’s not clear, but there are reports that players weren’t happy with him.
Source tells me in regards to Kenny Atkinson’s departure: “(Some) of the players wanted him gone.”— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) March 7, 2020
Here is something you can take to the bank: If Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant wanted Kenny Atkinson to be the coach, he'd be the coach.— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) March 7, 2020
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are the Nets’ biggest stars. If they’re not happy, you can bet that things will change.
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