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Coaching Rumors: Walton, Thibodeau, Atkinson

Coaching vacancies tend to dominate headlines this time of year, and this morning, with news about Luke Walton and Mark Jackson, is no exception. See more coaching-related items here:

  • Team president Phil Jackson, after speaking recently with Walton, told members of the Knicks organization that he doesn’t think Walton will leave his job as lead assistant for the Warriors, a source told Chris Broussard of ESPN.com, as Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com relays. One report referred to the conversation between Jackson and Walton as an interview for the Knicks head coaching position, but Walton, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and others dispute that idea. The one head coaching job that Walton would be likely to take would be the Lakers gig, according to Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times, but Byron Scott is still in that position and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss is reportedly in favor Scott remaining.
  • Some people around the league are convinced Tom Thibodeau will be the next coach of the Timberwolves, Woelfel writes in the same piece. Thibodeau has high level of comfort with Minnesota from his time there as an assistant coach from 1989-91, a source told Marc Berman of the New York Post. Still, potential openings with the Rockets and Lakers intrigue Thibodeau, Woelfel hears.
  • Two NBA executives told Woelfel that Hawks assistant Darvin Ham is likely to elicit serious consideration for head coaching jobs in the next year or two.
  • Multiple Hawks players, including soon-to-be free agent Kent Bazemore, lauded assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, who’ll take over the Nets head coaching job as soon as Atlanta’s playoff run is finished, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com details. Kyle Korver said Atkinson was a significant reason he re-signed with the Hawks in 2013, observes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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