The league is driven by superstars. So, when the Brooklyn Nets announced that the team and head coach Kenny Atkinson were mutually parting ways, attention turned to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. What was their role in this decision? Because if they wanted Atkinson to remain head coach the organisation would never make such a decision.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with Kenny Atkinson
It was that last week that Atkinson and Nets players had an honest discussion regarding the tension within the team and their recent performance. Players expressed their frustration with the rotations. It was the choice of making Jarett Allen starting centre over DeAndre Jordan that set all this off.
— NBA News Now (@NBANewsNow247) March 9, 2020
Atkinson was dismal after the team meeting. When he met with general manager Sean Marks, Atkinson said to fire him now rather than keep him around like a proverbial lame duck for the remainder of the season.
With Durant and Irving back healthy, the next coach will have a job far easier than the one Atkinson had in 2020-21. We’ll never get to know whether he has the acumen to make it work or if the Nets simply got ahead of the inevitable.