NetsDaily: Heard Kenny Atkinson contract is for 4 years…

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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.”
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.
Atkinson's player development is clearly a big reason why he was hired, but what about his ability to recruit free agents like Lin? Atkinson is well-respected around the league and Brooklyn's situation isn't as frowned on around the league as fans might assume. Is Lin the Nets long term answer at point guard. You would have to assume no, but no one had faith in the undrafted Harvard man like Atkinson did in 2011 either.
Posted: 4:22 p.m. Monday, April 18, 2016 Kyle Korver and Kenny Atkinson met for coffee in the summer of 2013. Korver was an unrestricted free agent and there were big questions facing the Hawks in that offseason. The roster was about to undergo a major change with more than half the players free agents. A head coaching change was imminent. The assistant staff would be reconstructed with a new leader. Atkinson told Korver he was going to stay on as an assistant coach. “I didn’t know if I was coming back,” Korver said Monday. “That is something as a free agent, you don’t know what the team is going to be, what the coaching staff was going to look like. But he said he was going to be back. And that was a starting place for me. Kenny is going to be here? Things are going to be OK.” Korver re-signed with the Hawks.
“He has been awesome for us here in Atlanta,” Korver said. “I think our player development has been second to none the last four years. I think it has been amazing watching guys develop and grow and Kenny leads that.” The Hawks did not make Atkinson available to the media on Monday, honoring a request from the Nets that he not speak until he is formally introduced in Brooklyn following the Hawks’ postseason run.
Budenholzer said there are no immediate plan on who will replace Atkinson as lead assistant. Atkinson joins Quin Snyder as lead assistants under Budenholzer to go on to head coaching jobs in the NBA in the past three years. Snyder joined the Jazz two seasons ago.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Hawks point guard Jeff Teague said best news he heard was the Nets hiring assistant Kenny Atkinson. Teague credited Atkinson with helping his development and cited his contagious enthusiasm and energy as things the Nets will benefit from greatly.
Walton had pulled himself out of consideration from the Nets, who announced the hiring of Kenny Atkinson on Sunday.
The Brooklyn Nets have named Kenny Atkinson as the team’s new head coach. Atkinson will become the 21st head coach in the franchise’s NBA history. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.
“I am truly honored and humbled to be named the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and I would like to thank Nets’ ownership and management for this tremendous opportunity. Together with Sean and his staff, we look forward to building a winning tradition here in Brooklyn,” said Atkinson.
"I also want to acknowledge and thank Mike Budenholzer and the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for their cooperation and support throughout this process. While I am eager to begin working with the Nets, I remain committed to my coaching responsibilities with the Hawks for the remainder of the postseason,” said Atkinson.
Atlanta Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson has agreed to a multi-year deal to become head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, league sources told The Vertical. The Nets are expected to make a formal announcement as soon as Sunday.
Nets general manager Sean Marks met with several candidates in recent weeks, but had long targeted Atkinson for the Nets job, sources said. Negotiations took place over the past several days and culminated with an agreement this weekend.
Atkinson, 48, will finish out the playoffs with Atlanta, where he has been Mike Budenholzer’s top assistant coach for the past two years. Atkinson has been considered one of the most, if not the most, prepared NBA assistants to ascend into a head-coaching job.
Among the five interim jobs, the Knicks (Kurt Rambis), Timberwolves (Sam Mitchell) and Suns (Earl Watson) are expected to give the incumbents strong looks, sources say. Barring something unforeseen, Tony Brown in Brooklyn and J.B. Bickerstaff in Houston will be moving on.
The Brooklyn job is a headscratcher, as GM Sean Marks -- cut from the secretive San Antonio cloth -- has been tight-lipped about his intentions. Player agents will be paying close attention to the Nets' interview process, and ultimately, the hire -- seeking a reason for their clients to consider Brooklyn as free agents in July. For that reason, Mike D'Antoni -- whose system is known for raising players' value -- could get a look, sources say. Tom Thibodeau, Jeff Van Gundy and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina are also believed to be on Marks' short list. Don't discount Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson, who shares Marks' agent, Steve Heumann of CAA.
Brown — 11-33 since replacing the fired Lionel Hollins in January — is the incumbent, but surely nowhere near the favorite. Neither is highly regarded ex-Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who might want too much power. His agent, Leon Rose, did not return calls. No, pole position may go to Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, who is also from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree and has a long-standing relationship with Marks.
It’s unclear who the Nets’ other candidates are, with no formal interviews believed to have been conducted. But Marks is expected to bring candidates to the same search committee that vetted him: Nets CEO Brett Yormark, ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment president Irina Pavlova, board chairman Dmitry Razumov and Prokhorov confidant Kushchenko. Another likely contender is ex-Cavaliers coach David Blatt, who coached the Russian National Team from 2004-12 and whom Prokhorov knows, nearly hiring him at CSKA in 2008.
Marks said he wouldn’t rule out any names from a coaching search that has been linked with Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau, David Blatt and Ettore Messina. Messina will draw attention since he worked with Marks in San Antonio and for Prokhorov when he coached the latter’s CSKA Moscow to two Euroleague titles. But Marks won’t limit himself to just plucking coaches off the Gregg Popovich tree.
In an interview with Michael Kay Thursday, Sean Marks disclosed that Joe Johnson "gave back $3 million" and discussed, among other things how the team will choose their next coach -- "initially yes, it will be my call" in that he will prepare a short list of candidates -- and what he's looking for - "a communicator" like Gregg Popovich.
Mike Mazzeo: Dmitry Razumov says the process of selecting the next Nets' coach will be driven by GM Sean Marks but it appears there will be input from ownership as well much like GM selection process.
Nets Daily: Ownership will have as much say in the choosing a head coach as Sean Marks. Recall that Prokhorov never met with Lionel Hollins before Billy King hired Hollins.
CSKA Moscow reached the EuroLeague Final in all four seasons of Messina’s first stint with the franchise (2005-06 through 2008-09), winning two titles and four Russian League championships during that span. After a brief stint with Real Madrid, Messina joined Mike Brown’s staff with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011 before returning to CSKA Moscow the following year and winning a fifth Russian title. “He knows everything, so he can adjust to whatever kind of game,” said Nets center Andrea Bargnani, who played for Messina with Italy’s Benetton Treviso. “He really knows the game inside and out.” Asked if Messina could be a success as an NBA head coach, Bargnani didn’t hesitate: “Absolutely. Without a doubt.”
Nets Daily: One coach has ties to both Prokhorov and Marks: Ettore Messina who Marks works with in SA and who was Prokhorov's coach at CSKA Moscow.
Tim Bontemps: Nets ownership has long been enamored with Tom Thibodeau. Think it's safe to assume both he and Ettore Messina will be HC candidates.
One thing that has become apparent: The next GM will not have unilateral control in hiring the Nets' next coach, sources said. The organization plans to pursue a coach through the elaborate committee that it has assembled to interview GM candidates. The GM will have input, but the Nets want to hire a significant presence as head coach – among a pool of candidates that they hope includes Van Gundy, Thibodeau and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina.
Prokhorov's history suggests he likes to make splashy moves. Sources have said that Thibodeau is a coach the Nets have been eyeing for some time and he certainly qualifies as a sexy name. After what happened in Chicago, Thibodeau will want management he trusts and one that will allow him to do the job the way he wants.
David Blatt, former Cavs coach and former Russian national team coach, is also a name mentioned with the Nets, according to a source. And Kentucky coach John Calipari will continue to be pushed by Nets CEO and friend Brett Yormark. However, Calipari will command a lot and one source recently described a potential Cal-Nets reunion as a longshot as of now. Of course, much can change from now to whenever the Nets close in on a coach.
Sources say Calipari is fading despite in-house support from Nets CEO Brett Yormark, and ex-Hawks GM Danny Ferry is no longer a viable candidate despite support from the reassigned Billy King. Bryan Colangelo is still in the picture, as are Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas and Rockets executive vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas.
Interim coach Tony Brown has filled in since Lionel Hollins’ firing, and assistant GM Frank Zanin is the man to execute any moves — for now. But the Nets will need to fill both spots permanently, and Van Gundy — whose Pistons edged the Nets on Monday, 105-100 — said it’s nonsensical to hire the coach first. “I don’t think you can hire — if you’re going to hire two people, you can’t hire the employee before the boss. That just doesn’t make any sense to me,’’ said Van Gundy, who is the Pistons’ coach and president. “And that’s immediately going to create tension, right there, [that] the guy that’s your boss — that you report to — didn’t hire you. “I mean, we see it in college coaching all the time. It’s tenuous, anyway, but if you were there before and there’s a new AD coming in, good luck to you. The guy’s looking for the first sign [to fire you]. Whereas if the guy hires you, he’s got a little more tendency to give you the benefit of the doubt because it reflects upon him. So if you’re going to hire two, to me you’ve got to hire the GM first. He’s got to have say in who he has as a coach.’’
In an interview with Match TV, a Russian sports channel, Karasev said he thinks the Nets will pursue Blatt, who coached him on Team Russia in 2012, winning the bronze at the London Olympics. "There were no signs of trouble -- Cleveland played in The Finals last season, and now ranks first in the conference. But it happens. I think Brooklyn will make every effort to get David. I know him and I am on good terms with him . Of course, his appointment would be a plus for me, " Karasev said in an interview with the program, "Sports interest, "on the TV channel.
Both Mikhail Prokhorov and Nets chairman Dmitry Razumov, were both in town Tuesday for the Nets-Heat, Prokhorov sitting in his suite and Razumov courtside. He had planned to attend Sunday's Thunder game but a blizzard intervened. No one is saying what's up, but one possibility is that the Nets are getting serious about their GM search. Interviews maybe.
David Blatt, a former US-born head coach of NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and Russia’s national basketball team, is one of the main candidates to manage Brooklyn Nets, which is owned by Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov, a source familiar with the matter told TASS on Monday. "Brooklyn [Nets] is currently considering several candidacies for the post of the club’s head coach and Blatt’s candidacy is the priority one," the source said in an interview with TASS.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Nets, while in the early stages of a search for both a new lead executive and a new coach in the wake of ousting both general manager Billy King and Lionel Hollins, are likely to pursue Thibodeau once they can secure a successor to King.
The Nets also have been linked strongly to Kentucky coach John Calipari -- largely due to Calipari's strong ties to Brooklyn CEO Brett Yormark -- but there is a growing sense in league circles that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants to hire established NBA names with considerable experience in the league.
But it's hardly a secret that Calipari has always wanted, someday, to get back to the NBA, where he had his one great flameout as a coach, while the Nets were still in Jersey. His stint with the Nets ended after two-plus seasons, 184 games and one playoff appearance, a quick, first-round dispatching by the Bulls in 1998. But it will take an Everest-sized financial commitment for Calipari to depart from Lexington, where he has his pick of the high school cream of the crop annually, alone among all college coaches with a single promise: play one year for me, and you'll be a Lottery pick. Almost everyone who's taken him up on the deal over the last decade has done so.
Calipari is the primary target, according to several sources close to the Nets and Calipari. It will take a lot to get him, which means power and money, perhaps even a small piece of ownership. Remember, Cal’s not the desperate one here. Calipari has been down this road before with the Nets and knows he’ll have to hire a smart general manager to handle the day-to-day business. The job requires heaving lifting. The Nets are in a complete rebuild without many assets.
John Calipari: I am not negotiating with ANYBODY. My total focus is on this team and winning the next game.
During a press conference on Monday, Mikhail Prokhorov, the Nets billionaire Russian owner, said: "Coach Cal is a great coach. But we won't be discussing any names today." "After [we make a list] I will meet personal with all of them [coaching candidates]," he told the YES Network.
Meanwhile, on a completely separate track, Kentucky coach John Calipari's emissaries have been putting out the word that if he were going to ever leave Lexington that it would take certain historic conditions, sources said. Not only would he require complete a total control as coach and team president but also an astronomical guaranteed cash figure. Wes Wesley, Calipari's coaching agent, has told plenty in power across the NBA that it would take an offer of no less than "$120 million guaranteed" to get Calipari's interest, sources said. It has not been clear how many years that would entail or whether it would require him to coach for the entire contract. One of Calipari's perceived selling points, sources said, is the horde of former Kentucky stars who are scheduled to become free agents over the next 3-4 years that Calipari theoretically might be able to re-recruit to a new NBA home. As the smoke clears on the Nets house cleaning and Calipari's name continues to naturally be connected, it is important to understand that there are two tracks to the story.
Yormark is pushing Prokhorov to reach back to the Nets' Jersey roots, dust off a failed '90s experiment and sell it as something sparkling and new. Twenty years ago, the Nets stunned everyone with a five-year, $15 million contract for the UMass coach. For Calipari to consider the Nets – and, yes, the Sacramento Kings, too – league sources tell Yahoo Sports that the teams have been informed of his asking price: 10 years, $120 million.
When Calipari spoke with minority ownership in Sacramento last spring, he told them that it would take an offer of $11 million-plus a year to get his attention, league sources said. Calipari turned down a 10-year, $80 million-plus offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, because he wouldn't leave Kentucky with only an incremental raise on what is now an $8 million to $9 million annual package on campus.
Before the Kings approached him late last spring, Calipari had been hoping the New Orleans Pelicans would consider him, league sources told Yahoo. The idea of reuniting with Anthony Davis was the allure, but New Orleans had no interest in giving him complete control, nor paying his massive salary.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Depending on how much influence Yormark will have, Cal will be pushed. Also told C.Mullin could be a name 2 consider
It makes sense for Prokhorov to find his GM first. That hire is more important than the coach as the Nets need a skilled executive to navigate the draft and free agency and reacquire assets (draft picks, young talent, team friendly contracts). It can be a painful process with plenty of losses, but it’s a better plan than what the Nets have now. Still, that person will have a difficult job.
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June 25, 2022 | 7:06 pm EDT Update
“Their continuity wasn’t there,” Perkins said on a recent appearance on JJ Redick’s The Old Man & the Three podcast (h/t Lee Tran of Fadeaway World) about Westbrook and Durant. “No matter how much they tried to fake it to the public, their brotherhood, it never was a brotherhood. And that’s okay, right, because you don’t have to be somebody’s brother to go out there and win a championship. But it helps. They never just got on the same page.
“It was the most difficult situation that I’ve ever been in coming from a Celtics team that was so close. When I got to the Oklahoma City Thunder, it was so separated. You had Eric Maynor, Russell Westbrook and James Harden… and Daequan Cook. They had their little clique and they kicked it with each other. Then you had KD who as just by himself. He didn’t even hang with them.”
“I gave him a choice because he had a 20-minute restriction the first game,” Steve Kerr told Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner on Friday’s episode of the Point Forward podcast. “I told him this is how the minutes would play out for you if you started verses if you came off the bench. Typical Steph, he said, ‘No, it sounds way better to come off the bench. That way I don’t have to sit too long between my minutes.’ “It never even entered the equation that this would be a blow to his ego or anything.”
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