Assistant coach Jacque Vaughn will replace Atkinson for the remainder of the season.
"After discussions with Kenny about the progress of the season, we mutually agreed that a coaching change would be in the best interest of the team," general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. "This was an extremely difficult decision, however the organization believes it is one that is necessary at this time.
"Kenny was instrumental in developing our players and building the identity and culture we have become known for over these past four seasons. The foundation he helped put into place here is one that we will continue to build on in the coming seasons. We are forever grateful for all of Kenny's hard work and dedication to the Nets and the Brooklyn community."
Atkinson has coached the Nets since 2016 and compiled a 118–190 record during his tenure. Brooklyn reached the playoffs only once in 2019 under him.
The Nets made a big splash last summer by landing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in free agency. The team knew Durant was recovering from a ruptured Achilles when they signed him, but the season took a turn when Irving underwent season-ending shoulder surgery this week.
Atkinson was reportedly not "fond" of coaching Durant and Irving into next season, according to Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill. Irving prefers Clippers assistant and former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue to replace Atkinson, Goodwill reports.
Brooklyn is 28–34 and sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings. The team will host the Bulls on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.
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