Real Reason Brooklyn Nets Fired Kenny Atkinson
What was the real reason the Brooklyn Nets fired head coach Kenny Atkinson this week? His waning influence with the players.
Early Saturday morning, news came down the pipe that Brooklyn had decided to part ways with Atkinson. The 52-year-old was in his fourth season as the team’s coach.
According ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Atkinson met with general manager Sean Marks and the pair agreed that they had reached the end of the line what they could accomplish together.
“Sean Marks and Atkinson had several conversations and the sense had been that a change was inevitable and both sides decided that there was no sense waiting on it,” he tweeted out.
“Both had felt that Atkinson and Nets had run course together. They have maintained a close relationship.”
What makes this move somewhat odd is the fact that under Atkinson’s reign the team seemingly showed improvement on an annual basis. On his watch, the Nets went from being a 20-win team to a 28-win team toa 42-win team.
Last season, in particular, Brooklyn also made it to the postseason.
So far in 2019-20 the Nets are 28-34. Obviously that is below where the team was last year, but there are extenuating circumstances at work.
Over the summer Brooklyn acquired Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan, but of that group, only Jordan has remained consistently healthy. Through 62 total games, Durant and Irving have played in a combined 20. And since both are out for the rest of the year, that total is unlikely to change.
So what led to Atkinson’s departure? According to Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily, “some of the players wanted him gone.
Ian Begley of SNY also confirmed something similar.
Sean Marks hasn’t offered many specifics about factors that went into the decision about Kenny Atkinson but he said Atkinson acknowledged that his voice in the locker room may have not been what it once was.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) March 7, 2020
“Sean Marks hasn’t offered many specifics about factors that went into the decision about Kenny Atkinson but he said Atkinson acknowledged that his voice in the locker room may have not been what it once was,” he tweeted out.
Atkinson’s general success with the Nets notwithstanding, it is also a bit weird that this move came on the heels of a big victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.
All that being said, the decision was made and its final: Atkinson is out. Who will his long-term replacement be? Time will tell.