The Brooklyn Nets unexpectedly cut ties with head coach Kenny Atkinson over the weekend and almost immediately fans began pointing the blame at point guard Kyrie Irving. In the days after the Nets and Atkinson "mutual parted ways," new details have emerged suggesting that Irving "soured" on Atkinson - meaning, yes, he certainly played a role in the decision to move on.
As it stands, assistant coach Jacque Vaughn will take over as interim head coach for the remainder of the season, but the team is expected to hire a more permanent option this off-season. Which begs the question: Who does Kyrie Irving want to be Brooklyn's next head coach?
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According to Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill, Irving is hoping that his former coach Ty Lue will take the job.
Irving soured on Atkinson early, league sources told Yahoo Sports, and currently prefers Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue to be the team's next head coach. Lue was the head coach in Cleveland when Irving hit the winning shot in the 2016 NBA Finals and was in talks to take the Lakers job before discussions broke down.
Goodwill also notes that sources claim Atkinson "wasn’t fond of coaching Durant and Irving based on what he saw this season." The Nets (29-34) are currently slotted in the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, just a half game up on the eighth seed Orlando Magic. Up next for the team is a four-game West Coast trip including matchups against the Lakers, Warriors, Clippers and Kings.