Amid the continued controversy regarding former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson’s departure over the weekend, the latest rumors about the team’s coaching situation suggest that former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson could be leading the team in Atkinson’s place on a more permanent basis.
As reported on Monday by NBC Sports Bay Area, multiple sources have speculated that Jackson might be the most likely name to join the Nets as the team’s permanent head coach. Shortly after Atkinson’s firing, veteran sports journalist Peter Vecsey tweeted that Jackson is a logical choice for the job, considering his relationship with Rich Kleiman, the longtime agent of injured Nets forward Kevin Durant, as well as his fellow superstar free-agent acquisition, Kyrie Irving. He added that the native New Yorker is the “prohibitive home town [sic] favorite” to lead Brooklyn in the 2020-21 season.
A separate tweet from Stefan Bondy of New York Daily News offered a similar prediction, as he noted that Kleiman “lobbied” for Jackson to replace David Fizdale as the New York Knicks’ head coach earlier this season, adding that he assumes the agent will do the same with the Nets. Per NBC Sports Bay Area, Kleiman is a longtime Knicks fan who idolized Jackson during his playing days with the team, with both men later becoming close friends.
If Jackson becomes the Nets’ permanent head coach for the 2020-21 season, this will kick off his first NBA coaching stint since the 2013-14 season with the Warriors. All in all, he led the way in Golden State from 2011 to 2014, winning a combined 98 games with the team in his last two seasons and paving the way for the dominant roster featuring Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — as well as Durant from 2016 through 2019 — and coached by Steve Kerr.
Despite Jackson’s solid track record, NBC Sports Bay Area cautioned that he might not be able to cultivate the positive winning culture Durant and Irving have supposedly craved since they signed with Brooklyn in the summer of 2019. The outlet noted that there was “dissension in the ranks” during Jackson’s stint with the Warriors, as he allegedly didn’t get along well with his assistants, had a “confrontation” with assistant general manager Kirk Lacob, and didn’t want team consultant Jerry West to show up for Golden State’s team activities.
Aside from Jackson, former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue has also been rumored as another candidate to take over in Brooklyn next season. Since the Nets parted ways with Atkinson on Saturday, Jacque Vaughn has been coaching the team on an interim basis.