The Brooklyn Nets and Kenny Atkinson have agreed to part ways, the team announces in a press release.
“After discussions with Kenny about the progress of the season, we mutually agreed that a coaching change would be in the best interest of the team,”Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement.
“This was an extremely difficult decision, however the organization believes it is one that is necessary at this time. Kenny was instrumental in developing our players and building the identity and culture we have become known for over these past four seasons. The foundation he helped put into place here is one that we will continue to build on in the coming seasons.”
Both sides felt like the relationship had run its course. Atkinson became the team’s head coach back in 2016 and he went 20-67 during his first season with the team. Overall, he had a 118-190 record.
Jacque Vaughn Takes Over as Interim Head Coach
Jacque Vaughn will slide down the bench and become the team’s head coach on an interim basis.
Vaughn previously spent two of his two of his 12 years in the league with the Nets as a player. He also played for the Spurs, Hawks, Magic and Jazz, the latter of which he was drafted to in 1997.
The former point guard began his coaching career with the Spurs as an assistant back in 2010. After a few successful years under Gregg Popovich, Vaughn earned the role of head coach with the Magic. He didn’t find much success in Orlando and his next gig came with the Nets as in assistant coach, as he joined the franchise in 2016.
The Season Continues in Brooklyn
This season for the Nets was supposed to be a dry run. The team entered the 2019-20 season with many new pieces and it was expected to be a filler year as everyone waited for Kevin Durant to return from his Achilles injury.
Kyrie Irving joined Durant on the sideline with shoulder and knee woes. The star point guard only played in 20 games during his debut season in Brooklyn.
Still, without its two stars, the Nets remain in the playoff picture. The team currently has a record of 28-34, which is a half-game up on the Magic, who own the eighth seed. Brooklyn is five games ahead of the Wizards, a team that’s currently outside of the playoff picture and have faint hopes of making the postseason.