In a surprising turn of events, Brooklyn Nets and now former Head Coach Kenny Atkinson mutually agreed to part ways. The reasoning seemed a little strange, as a “mutual” parting is rarely truly the case. Whether the coach is disgruntled and wants out or a player quietly complains, there is some sort of wedge driven between the two sides. In looking at this scenario in Brooklyn it may actually be mutual, with Kyrie Irving playing a part as well.
Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports reports that Atkinson was ready to step away from the head coaching gig. A source tells Goodwill that “Kenny pushed for the parting just as much, if not more than Brooklyn.” In a league where players control more than ever before, the possibility of Irving and Durant wielding power perhaps discourage Atkinson. The Nets turned around under the rule of Kenny Atkinson, and that may have been the purpose of his role. With two championship-level players on the roster, and the need to win now, maybe a veteran coach capable of managing players and egos is needed. Such as Tyronn Lue.
Low and behold, Goodwill also reports that Kyrie Irving prefers his former coach from Cleveland than Atkinson. Irving reportedly did not take to Atkinson immediately, and the two sides never meshed. That feeling appears to be mutual. Atkinson did not want to coach Durant and Irving and seemed to know the writing was on the wall. Instead of making a change at the end of the season, Atkinson pushed to make the move now. “Oh, it was definitely mutual,” a league source tells Goodwill.
Lue was a whiskers-length away from being the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, another championship ready team. Nets General Manager Sean Marks will more than likely be looking for a coach who can command a locker room and connect with players. Now, a big decision looms for Brooklyn one summer after the biggest move in franchise history.