The Brooklyn Nets could be looking at a “big-name coach” in the upcoming months after parting ways with former helmsman Kenny Atkinson days before the 2019-20 season went on hiatus. Rumor has it that the two superstars who signed with the Nets this summer, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, are behind this process:
“One of the things that has been expressed sort of through the grapevine, that's the way I'm going to say it to protect myself from the aggregators, is that Durant and Irving would like a blue-chip coach,” said ESPN's Brian Windhorst on The Hoop Collective. “I don't know what this says about the way they thought about Atkinson, but they want a big-name coach.”
Windhorst is toeing the line here with the “I heard through the grapevine” line with his best Stephen A. Smith impersonation of “I don't know if it's true, but that's what I was told” rhetoric.
Luckily for Windy, there has been noise about Irving and Durant's involvement in the Nets' decision to sit Atkinson down and mutually agree to part ways.
Longtime assistant Jacque Vaughn is at the helm on an interim basis, but much like Mike Miller across the bridge, his job is up in the air once the offseason is underway.
Names like that of Los Angeles Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue surfaced quickly after Atkinson was relieved of his duties as coach. Names like Phil Jackson and even the rumored Gregg Popovich aren't coming through that door, making Lue the likely headliner of a shortlist of potential coaches. Another report also noted Irving wouldn't want his former coach to land with his new team, but things should eventually look clearer down the road.
Lue is mentioned on this podcast, and ESPN's Bobby Mark also brings up Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau and Mark Jackson as potential candidates, with Windy linking Thibs to the New York Knicks as well.