Kenny Atkinson Rumors
Former Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn is joining the Brooklyn Nets as the top assistant to new head coach Kenny Atkinson, league sources told The Vertical. Vaughn spent the 2015-16 season in the San Antonio Spurs’ front office as a pro personnel director.
Atkinson went undrafted and cut from tryouts with the Suns and Knicks in the summer of 1991. After stints in the USBL and CBA, he played in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. “You should see his résumé,’’ Tarrant said. “Kenny speaks five languages: French, Spanish, Italian, German and English. So he understands not only the languages but customs of the global player. I think all that helped with the ownership in Brooklyn.’’
D’Antoni had called it a coup when Atlanta hired Atkinson, and then-Knicks general manager Donnie Walsh — now with the Pacers — had similar praise. “I figured people would start noticing him. He’s got the talent,” Walsh told The Post. “Some guys know the game, but just strategy, how to set up offense or defense. Kenny can teach the game. “He’s in shape. I’d get a kick out of it. He’d say, I want you to go hard,’ and then lead it himself. [Players] are thinking, ‘Damn, if he can do it, I have to do it!’ … He’s like a little motor, the little battery that wouldn’t shut down.’’
In so many ways, as almost 39 years have somehow sped away, that is the image that remains for Alfieri because it says so much about why his old player has this job, and why his hiring has been met with universal praise in an era when just about every coaching hire in every sport is met with skepticism at best and derision at worst. “This kid, he paid his dues,” Alfieri says. “He worked his butt off.”
Several teams could use his services. The Brooklyn Nets’ hiring of the Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson to coach their team next season led some media outlets to speculate on whether Brooklyn could be an attractive destination for Lin. Atkinson was an assistant with the Knicks during the Linsanity days.
One day after the Nets hired Atkinson to become their head coach, Hawks players unanimously said Atkinson is a great hire for Brooklyn. In fact, Hawks players who talked to the media on Monday were genuinely thrilled for Atkinson and it showed when they were asked about it. “My guy!” Teague said when asked about Atkinson after Hawks practice on Monday. “That is the best news you guys gave me today … I have been with him for a while now and all the work he does with me personally, the late nights, the early mornings, to get an opportunity to be a head coach, he deserves it.