Former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson interviewed for the Rockets' coaching vacancy this week, according to The Athletic's Alykhan Bijani and Kelly Iko.
Atkinson previously coached in Brooklyn from 2016-20, posting a 118–190 record. The Nets reached the playoffs in 2019, but Atkinson was let go in March.
Houston began interviewing candidates for its head coach vacancy this week, nearly a month after Mike D'Antoni's departure. Atkinson is one of many former head coaches under consideration by the Rockets, including Jeff Van Gundy and Tyronn Lue. Former Rocket and current Clippers assistant Sam Cassell is also reportedly under consideration, as is John Lucas, the Rockets' director of player development.
Atkinson has some familiarity with Houston after working as a player development coach with the organization in 2007-08, and his stylistic tendencies appear well in-line general manager Daryl Morey. The Nets trailed only the Rockets in three-point frequency in 2019-20, and they've ranked in the top-10 in pace in each of the last three seasons. Houston can continue to run its three-heavy ethos will Atkinson at the helm.
There doesn't appear to be a discernible leader in the clubhouse for Houston's vacancy at the moment, with a deep slate of quality candidates available. But while we don't know who will coach James Harden and Co. next year, the expectations have been clearly established. The Rockets have reached the Western Conference semifinals in each of the last four seasons. They sport two former MVPs, one who remains in his relative prime. Replacing D'Antoni is no easy task for the next Rockets' coach.