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WOJ: NETS EXTENDING KENNY ATKINSON, STAFF

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets aren’t waiting till they learn their playoff fate and have decided to extend Kenny Atkinson and his coaching staff, Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

In talking to reporters at Tuesday’s practice, Atkinson declined comment, saying he was focused on the team’s last four games.

But D’Angelo Russell said the extensions were richly deserved and joked about how relaxed Atkinson and the staff looked Tuesday morning.

In his three years at Nets coach, Brooklyn’s win total has gone from 20 to 28 to 39 so far. In the five seasons prior to the Long Island native being hired, the Nets had five head coaches: Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlesimo, Jason Kidd, Lionel Hollins and Tony Brown.

Atkinson had been an assistant coach for the Rockets, Knicks and Hawks before taking the Nets job. More importantly, numerous Nets have developed under Atkinson and his staff, including All-Star D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris and Jarrett Allen.

Atkinson is a popular coach among his players with one Nets player anonymously telling NetsDaily’s Anthony Puccio: “We all love playing for Kenny because we know he’s got our back.”

The story did not list which assistants would be extended, but Atkinson has seven: Jacque Vaughn, Chris Fleming, Jordan Ott, Bret Brielmaier, Adam Harrington, Travon Bryant and Pablo Prigioni. Tiago Splitter is listed as both a scout and development coach.

No word on when the Nets will extend GM Sean Marks. Marks and Atkinson were giving four year deals in 2016 after Billy King and Lionel Hollins were dismissed. At the time, the contracts were the lowest or near lowest in the NBA.

The Nets have already lost one key member of their staff. The Sydney Kings of the Australian NBL have hired Long Island Nets head coach Will Weaver. In addition, the Nets have granted the Pelicans permission to interview assistant GM Trajan Langdon for their open job.

Players reacted quickly to the news...