According to Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill, Irving prefers Clippers assistant and former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue to replace Atkinson in Brooklyn.
Irving reportedly “soured” on Atkinson early during his time in Brooklyn this season. Nets GM Sean Marks said during a press conference on Saturday that the players were not responsible for Atkinson’s departure.
Irving and Lue’s paths previously crossed in Cleveland, where the two won a championship in 2016. Lue joined the Cavaliers as an associate head coach in 2014 and was later named head coach in 2016 following the firing of David Blatt. He has since spent time on the Clippers’ staff as an assistant coach after being fired from the Cavaliers at the start of the 2018-19 season and failing to reach an agreement with the Lakers.
Cleveland’s 2016 championship was sealed after Irving drained a game-winning three-point shot in Lue’s first season as head coach.
Atkinson reportedly was not “fond” of coaching Irving and Kevin Durant into Brooklyn’s next season, according to Goodwill. He had coached the Nets since 2016 and held a 118–190 record during his tenure.
Nets assistant coach Jacque Vaughn has been named Atkinson’s replacement through the end of the season.
Irving has been ruled out this season for Brooklyn after undergoing shoulder surgery. He averaged 27.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 20 games for the Nets in 2019-20.
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