Despite reports that the Nets new players — particularly Kyrie Irving — had undermined Kenny Atkinson, DeAndre Jordan denied it all and said he was surprised as anyone by the firing on Saturday morning.
“No, I think what you’re saying, and whatever the reports are, are b------t,” Jordan said. “I’m close with Kyrie, but Wilson [Chandler] is a new player, Garrett Temple’s a new player. We’re all new players. So if you’re going to say new players, put it on all eight of the new players.”
Of course, not all eight new players are superstars like Irving and Kevin Durant who not only have $100 million contracts but the inclination to make their thoughts known.
Sean Marks insisted on Saturday that the decision to dump Atkinson did not involve the players. Jordan contended he was caught off-guard by the move.
“I didn’t sense a change coming. That’s above my pay grade,” said Jordan, who signed a four-year, $40 million deal last summer to join Irving and Durant in Brooklyn.
“I was definitely shocked. I thought Kenny did a great job with us. This is my first year with him obviously and the guys who had been here love him, so I’m sure it’s tough for them. But at the end of the day, this is a business. Coaches get fired, players get cut, traded, whatever it is. So we still have a job to do...
“The guys who had been here love him, so I’m sure it’s tough for them. At the end of the day, this is a business, coaches get fired, players get cut, get traded, whatever it is,” Jordan said.
Jordan, of course, is the only healthy member of the free agency that made up last June’s “Clean Sweep” ... and the only one who was available to the media Sunday. Neither KD nor Kyrie were on hand at Barclays Center Sunday.
SNY’s Ian Begley reports that “some Nets players felt that Atkinson had lost a portion of the locker room recently. That aligns with what Marks said on Saturday.”
It’s also worth noting that some members of the Nets coaching staff were frustrated by Irving being in and out of the lineup earlier in the season before he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. It’s unclear if that frustration over Irving’s availability played any role in Saturday’s events.
- DeAndre Jordan denies Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant got Atkinson fired: ‘Bulls—‘ - Greg Joyce - New York Post
- Knicks coach Mike Miller weighs in on Nets’ Kenny Atkinson firing - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Sources: Some Nets veterans questioned if Kenny Atkinson was right coach to lead team to NBA title - Ian Begley - SNY
- Nets’ DeAndre Jordan: Speculation Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant played into Kenny Atkinson’s departure is ‘b------t’ - Garrett Stepien - SNY
- DeAndre Jordan disputes reports about Kenny Atkinson’s exit - ESPN