Ex-Nets coach Kenny Atkinson on Knicks coaching list: report

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NEW YORK — Kenny Atkinson can be added to the list.

The former Nets coach will be among the candidates interviewed for the Knicks position, according to the Athletic. As previously reported, Tom Thibodeau and Mike Miller are also expected to sit down with team president Leon Rose for consideration.

Atkinson unexpectedly became available after being fired by the Nets in March, just about a week before the NBA season shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 52-year-old Long Island product had Brooklyn in a playoff spot despite the absence of his two best players — Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. However, Atkinson never connected with Irving, in particular, and owner Joe Tsai consulted with players before making the decision not to retain his coach.

Atkinson’s strength is development, and the Knicks remain in that phase with a young group highlighted by RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox. They’ll also have a lottery pick in the upcoming draft.

As an assistant with the Knicks under Mike D’Antoni, Atkinson was credited for developing Jeremy Lin from a G-Leaguer to a sensation. In Brooklyn, he carried a young team into the playoffs while revitalizing Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell.

Thibodeau, the former Bulls and Timberwolves coach, has long been considered the frontrunner for the Knicks job. People around the league have warned not to rule out John Calipari due to his close relationship with Rose’s longtime associate, William ‘Worldwide’ Wesley.

The Knicks will not conduct coaching interviews while the season is paused, according to SNY. But Rose has revamped his front office with the hiring of three new executives — Brock Aller, Frank Zanin, Walt Perrin. He also signed GM Scott Perry to a one-year extension.


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