Nets, Coach Kenny Atkinson Agree to Part Ways

Ryan Chatelain
March 07, 2020 - 9:41 am

Note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Kenny Atkinson, the coach who took over a down-in-dumps Brooklyn Nets team with meager draft assets four years ago and brought it to the playoffs last season, is out of a job.

In a stunning move Saturday morning, the Nets announced they have mutually parted ways with the 52-year-old coach.

“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,” general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “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," Marks said. "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."

Under Atkinson, the Nets' win total grew from 20 to 28 to 42 in his first three seasons. Together, he and Marks set out to change the culture of the organization. After previous GM Billy King paid dearly in draft picks to acquire Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from the Boston Celtics in 2013, Marks and Atkinson focused on building the franchise by emphasizing the development of young talent, and Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris were among their biggest success stories.

With their arrow pointing up after reaching the postseason in 2019, the Nets were the big winners of free agency last summer, reeling in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. However, Durant is missing the entire season while he recovers from the torn Achilles he suffered in last year's NBA Finals with Golden State, and Irving is out for the rest of the year, too, having played in just 20 games before undergoing shoulder surgery.

Marks will meet with the media Saturday afternoon to further discuss Atkinson's departure.

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