While the Golden State Warriors are preparing for another postseason, some eliminated NBA teams have already made significant decisions on the direction of their franchises going forward.
Despite only finishing their regular seasons on Sunday, the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons are already on the lookout for new head coaches. As is the case most offseasons, coaching searches and interviews often include assistants still active in roles with playoff teams.
Top Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson could be a lead candidate for vacant coaching jobs at the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons.
The Rockets parted ways with Stephen Silas after three years at the helm, with the 49-year-old having won just 59 of 236 games with a young squad. In Detroit, former Coach of the Year Dwane Casey is moving into a front office role with the franchise.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, lead Warriors assistance Kenny Atkinson is a ‘prominent candidate’ in the Rockets search, along with former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka and former Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel.
Atkinson coached the Brooklyn Nets for 308 games across four years from 2016 to 2020, before making the move to the Warriors where he’s been a top assistant next to Steve Kerr for the past two seasons.
The 55-year-old was in this position last season, interviewing for and then accepting the role as head coach of the Charlotte Hornets. He then sensationally backflipped in the immediate aftermath of the Warriors championship, electing to remain at Golden State where he’d take on greater responsibility after the defection of Mike Brown to the Sacramento Kings.
Atkinson was previously an early candidate for the vacant Atlanta Hawks coaching position earlier this season, but that was quickly filled by former Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder. Clearly there was no on-court impact to the Warriors despite Atkinson’s link with Charlotte last postseason, and we can expect that to be the case again even if he is to be interested in the jobs in Houston or Detroit.