Rumor: Nets star Kyrie Irving didn’t treat Kenny Atkinson with nearly enough respect
Former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has faced a slew of rumors to make sense of his sudden parting of ways with the organization. The latest is how his new star, Kyrie Irving, didn’t treat him with enough respect upon landing in Brooklyn, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Atkinson’s game management in the final five minutes of the game was deemed “not exemplary” and the same could be said of his X’s and O’s adjustments on the fly.
While those could have been part of why Irving’s respect wasn’t there for the coach, the disrespect could have easily bled into his two partners: Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan — two veterans with high influence.
People around the NBA believe Atkinson will get another shot at a head-coaching job soon enough, but he must first earn the respect of his star players before he takes the next step up the coaching ranks.
Plenty of head coaches have been fired due to personal animosity with one (or more) of their players. Irving’s lack of respect isn’t justified by any means, but it’s understandable if he’s coming from a championship-winning coach in Tyronn Lue and a clipboard genius in Brad Stevens.
The other side to it was that Atkinson, who has thrived developing young talent like D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert, was too high over his head trying to coach a high-caliber All-Star like Irving.
Should he get another shot at the helm, the former Nets coach must first assess the risk-reward of coaching a star player and the expectations that come with it.