Former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson will hardly recognize his old team when he sees them for the first time since being fired, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. After reportedly being considered for several head coaching jobs, Atkinson caught on as an assistant with the Clippers, who make their only visit of the season to the Barclays Center tonight.
Atkinson led the Nets back to respectability during his nearly four years with the team. He was fired last March in a surprising move, reportedly because of an inability to relate to star players. With Kevin Durant now healthy and James Harden acquired in a trade, Brooklyn’s future is based around stars.
“He’s done a great job everywhere he’s been,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “Player development was always a strong suit in how he developed these young guys and other players; we’ve seen how good they’ve gotten.”
There’s more from Brooklyn:
- It would be surprising if Spencer Dinwiddie ever plays for the Nets again, contends Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. In a column with Danny Leroux discussing Brooklyn’s roster options, Schiffer notes that Dinwiddie may be tempted to opt out of his $12.3MM salary for next season and test the free agent market. Dinwiddie is expected to miss the rest of the year after ACL reconstruction surgery, but some teams still may be interested in trading for him, according to Schiffer and Leroux.
- Norvel Pelle‘s new deal is a minimum-salary contract with several guarantee dates, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. This season will become guaranteed at the league-wide date on February 24, while next season is fully non-guaranteed. Pelle would receive $150K if he’s still on the roster 30 days after the offseason moratorium is lifted, and $250K on opening night.
- Because of injuries, Durant, Harden and Kyrie Irving have only played together four times since Brooklyn’s Big Three was formed, but Zach Kram of The Ringer believes coach Steve Nash already has an ideal minutes distribution worked out. Charting their playing time so far, Kram finds that either Harden or Irving has been on the court for every minute of close games when they’ve both been available, and the Nets usually have at least two of their stars playing at the same time whenever all three are active.