The Brooklyn Nets shocked everyone in the NBA when they announced that they were “mutually parting ways” with Kenny Atkinson as their head coach. Though Atkinson finally got the opportunity to coach a roster that has a legitimate chance of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and winning the NBA championship title, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports revealed that the coach was the one who pushed for his departure from the Nets. Since the reports about Atkinson’s firing surfaced, several rumors have emerged, including why both parties chose to head in different directions, as well as the status of his relationship with Nets superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The clock of Atkinson’s time in Brooklyn reportedly started ticking from the time they signed Durant and Irving in the 2019 NBA free agency, and there is speculation that both superstars influenced the Nets’ decision to fire him. Though Irving and Durant are yet to speak regarding the matter, DeAndre Jordan recently decided to break his silence on the controversy surrounding Atkinson’s departure. In a recent interview with ESPN, Jordan strongly denied that high-profile players on their roster had something to do with the Nets’ recent move.
“Yeah, I’m close to Kyrie, but Wilson [Chandler] is a new player, Garrett Temple’s a new player,” Jordan said Sunday. “We’re all new players, so if you’re going to say new players, put it on all eight of the new players. I think whatever you’re saying and whatever the reports are are bulls—.”
Jordan admitted that he was “shocked” by the news of Atkinson’s firing, but he said such things happen since the NBA is a business.
“The guys who had been here love him, so I’m sure it’s tough for them. At the end of the day, this is a business, coaches get fired, players get cut, get traded, whatever it is,” Jordan said.
Atkinson’s departure from the Nets turned out to be somewhat beneficial for Jordan. With Jacque Vaughn serving as the Nets’ interim head coach, Jordan has found his way back to the starting lineup. In their recent victory against the Chicago Bulls, Jordan proved that he still has plenty of gas left in his tank after finishing with 11 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks on 80.0 percent shooting from the field.
However, it remains unknown if Vaughn will be able to convince the Nets to promote him as their new head coach. After announcing Atkinson’s firing, rumors have started to circulate that Irving prefers Tyronn Lue to be their next head coach. Lue coached Irving in Cleveland when they won the NBA championship title in 2016.