Knicks Rumors: Kenny Atkinson has internal support for head coach job

Kenny Atkinson, New York Knicks coaching candidate (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Kenny Atkinson, New York Knicks coaching candidate (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

As the New York Knicks are being linked to Tom Thibodeau, former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is garnering support.

The New York Knicks are inching closer to one of the most important decisions that a franchise can make. After spending most of the 2019-20 NBA regular season with an interim head coach, a full-time individual will soon be hired, and former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson reportedly has strong support inside the organization to take on the lead role.

Numerous reports have indicated that Tom Thibodeau is the heavy favorite, but that decision may not have been made by those who actually operate within the walls of Madison Square Garden.

Thibodeau is a compelling candidate, combining vast NBA experience with undeniable success as far as wins and losses are concerned. Nevertheless, New York is being thorough as it evaluates its options for the critical position of head coach.

Kenny Atkinson could be the right coaching fit for the New York Knicks.

According to Ian Begley of SNY, the Knicks appear to be high on Kenny Atkinson as a candidate for the head coaching job.

"There is legitimate internal support within the Knicks organization for Kenny Atkinson as next head coach, sources tell SNY’s Ian Begley."

That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a two-man race, however, as both interim head coach Mike Miller and former head coach Mike Woodson remain in the discussion, per multiple reports.

Nevertheless, it’s a compelling development to see Atkinson receive a significant level of support from those within the organization. Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer also recently endorsed his former assistant for the Knicks job.

Atkinson, 53, has 12 years of NBA coaching experience. He was the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets from 2016 until he resigned in 2020, famously ending the franchise’s four-year postseason drought during the 2018-19 campaign.

Atkinson had Brooklyn at 28-34 at the time of his resignation, despite the fact that Kyrie Irving has missed 44 games and Kevin Durant has been absent the entire season.

Prior to his tenure as head coach, Atkinson was a revered assistant coach for both the Atlanta Hawks and, believe it or not, the Knicks.

Atkinson is heralded as a player development specialist. Al Horford, a five-time All-Star, has gone on record as to praise Atkinson as an individual who challenged him and helped him become the player that he’s managed to evolve into.

That reputation carried over into Brooklyn, where Atkinson took a team of generally unproven players to the Playoffs and helped them find their identities.

Related Story. Mike Budenholzer endorses Kenny Atkinson. light

The New York Knicks have options, but if the goal is to develop the young players on the roster, Kenny Atkinson has quite a case to make.