Internal support is apparently growing, but the New York Knicks are destined to screw up hiring Kenny Atkinson.
The New York Knicks are embarking on a coaching search, with Tom Thibodeau, Mike Woodson, and interim head coach Mike Miller as rumored candidates. Kenny Atkinson looks like an obvious candidate too, and according to Ian Begley of SNY there is “legitimate internal support” for the former Brooklyn Nets head coach.
But remember, these are the Knicks; What can go wrong probably will and likely in spectacular fashion.
That being said, Atkinson seems like a perfect candidate to (finally) fix the Knicks. He had a 118-190 record over three-plus seasons as Nets’ coach. He oversaw a rebuild that seemed set to really pay off with a trip to the postseason and the arrivals of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. But by March Atkinson was gone, the result of a “mutual parting of ways”. How much someone reads into the drama is up to the individual, but there’s no doubting what Atkinson did with the Nets before his departure.
The rebuild in Brooklyn makes him a solid fit to try and do it again in Manhattan.
Atkinson is expected to interview for the Knicks job, along with Thibodeau, Woodson and Miller. Begley added Jason Kidd and Mark Jackson as candidates with fans inside the organization, but it’s unclear if either will interview. Back in April, for whatever it’s worth, Jackson expressed confidence he’d coach in the NBA again.
New Knicks president Leon Rose should have a clean slate to do as he sees fit to put things on the right track. A solid and extensive coaching search is a start, even if the idea of Thibodeau as the current favorite inspires plenty of cynicism. Kentucky head coach John Calipari is also lingering as a rumored candidate for the Knicks.
As much as circumstances will allow, the Knicks should leave no stone unturned in the search for a new head coach. Atkinson has practically fallen into their laps from across town, as an ideal-looking fit. But even with a new front office lead in Rose, history says the Knicks will not only bungle the path to hiring Atkinson, they’ll ultimately hire the absolute wrong guy.