Nets Reporter On Atkinson: Sometimes A Change Is Needed

Kenny Atkinson is no longer the Nets' head coach, and his (star) players may have had something to do with that

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
March 11, 2020 - 8:53 am
Kenny Atkinson Nets

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While the Brooklyn Nets may claim that they mutually parted ways with former head coach Kenny Atkinson, it seems Atkinson wanted to remain head coach.

So, what should Nets fans make of his dismissal? Did the players simply want him gone?

“I think that at certain times, you got an influx of new players, and obviously some things that you coached in the past are not going to go over well with everyone else,” NY Daily News Nets reporter Kristian Winfield said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It sounded like players just wanted a new voice in there, and it sounded like Kenny understood that his voice was not the one that was going to carry on on this team. Now when you talk to players in the locker room, they say, ‘Hey, we were just as shocked as anybody else. That was what woke me up.’ A lot of Nets players are saying, ‘We woke up to a group text message that said the same thing.’”

That, however, depends on who you ask.

“Those are Nets players we have seen over the years,” Winfield said. “We were not able to talk to Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant – DeAndre Jordan didn’t even talk about it until a couple days ago. We didn’t get a chance to talk to a bunch of the new guys about it. So you don’t really know at this point, but a change had to be made according to a lot of people that were closer. Sometimes that’s what it is. Sometimes you just have to do something different.”

Atkinson went 118-190 in four seasons with the Nets. Ultimately, was his ouster player-generated?

“I won’t say that it’s a player-generated change,” Winfield said. “What I will say is if Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan absolutely wanted Kenny Atkinson as their head coach, he’s going to be the head coach. Even Sean Marks said, ‘I would have loved to see Kenny coach this thing and see this thing through.’ You got to remember Kenny Atkinson was Sean Marks’ very first hire on the job. This was the guy he chose to build this up from nothing. For him to have made that decision, it was tough, but you know it had to have been something a little bit deeper than what we’re hearing.

“So at the end of the day, there may be a change needed,” Winfield continued. “Kenny is a great guy. I would have loved to have seen him coach this thing through, but it just seems like that wasn’t going to be the case.”