Alan Hahn called Kenny Atkinson the "point guard whisperer" on ESPN Radio Monday, citing not just his success with Jeremy Lin, but also Dennis Schoder, Shelvin Mack and of course Jeff Teague. Could he do the same with Shane Larkin? Or will Atkinson's luck with PGs mean that Larkin won't be a priority for the Nets?
He has a player option for $1.5 million --no raise, no additional years-- and although the said some nice things about Brooklyn to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, he's still not sure what he wants to do. He has until June 29 to decide. He could opt out and then talk to the Nets about a longer term deal.
"I’m not a guy who wants to play a 10-year career with eight different teams; I want to find a home and really lock in with a team where I know what the coach wants, what my teammates want and we can just all grow together," Larkin told Basketball Insiders before the Atkinson hire was announced. (Players had no advance warning.)
"I just turned 23, so I’m still young. Being able to get with a team on a two-year deal or three-year deal saying, ‘This is what we want you to be. We want you to spark our offense, push the tempo, be this guy and this is what we feel you can do for the team,’ then that’s perfect. Whether I’m a starter or whatever, it’s cool either way."
Larkin, of course, was the poster boy for inconsistency last season, with a few great games, and a growing chemistry with Brook Lopez, but generally, he was mediocre despite some real talent. He never seemed to put it all together.
The Miami product did suggest that he preferred working with Lionel Hollins and seemed to diss Tony Brown and the organization to Kennedy.
"I was really comfortable with Coach Hollins. But after 37 games, to be exact, Coach Hollins was out of here and Billy King was released or whatever it was so it was like we didn’t really have a lot of direction. Coach Tony was kind of just handed the job like, ‘Alright, here you go.’ It was kind of like, ‘Just like go play basketball.’
"[Until mid-February], there was no GM telling him who he wants to be played, what he wants to do. It changes everything because there’s no real direction. There’s no, ‘Oh, let’s play the young guys in this type of system.’ It’s kind of just like, ‘Okay, here’s the guys you have – go out and try to win basketball games.’"
Larkin, of course, is one of three Nets who have those player options, along with Wayne Ellington ($1.6 million) and Thomas Robinson ($1 million). All have said they're undecided, but of the three, it would seem the one most likely to opt in --at least for now-- is Larkin.