“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 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.”
You can call it whatever you like, but Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant more or less just got Kenny Atkinson fired. The Nets overachieved and went 42-40 under Atkinson last season. They are currently in the #7 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 28-34 record. The team traded D'Angelo Russell this past offseason and used their cap space to sign Irving and Durant, as well as their buddy De'Andre Jordan. Durant has missed the entire season and Irving only played 20 games. The team went 8-12 in those games. Irving has been critical of the team's roster, while their GM has said he pushes personnel decisions by his stars. Honestly the moment the Nets got in bed with Durant and Driving, their strong culture went to shit.
So let me see if I've got this... Kenny Atkinson takes a Brooklyn team without Kevin Durant all year and without Kyrie Irving for 42 of 62 games and gets them into a 7 seed -- and the Nets don't want him as coach anymore?
Somewhere logic is sitting in a bar getting $#!+faced.
There is no way Marks didn't run this past the two all-stars he just signed. They don't have to say, "Fire him." Just not saying, "Don't fire him" does the trick. And if your team's record isn't the issue and your relationship with the front office isn't the issue, then your relationship with the players is. And Marks doesn't care about the end of the bench guys. It's the stars that have the say.
Basically Durant and Irving decided that Atkinson wasn't their guy and they wanted a new coach. Can't wait til both of them are healthy next season and the team underperforms. Their fragile egos and the meltdowns that will come with the New York media will be a joy to watch.
Somebody has to explain why a GREAT Coach like Kenny Atkinson gets fired?