For the second straight summer, Kenny Atkinson is a hot name on the NBA coaching market.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Warriors assistant coach is a finalist for the Milwaukee Bucks head-coaching gig, along with Nick Nurse and Toronto Raptors Assistant Adrian Griffin.
Last summer, Atkinson verbally agreed to become the next Charlotte Hornets head coach, before having a change of heart once the Warriors won the 2022 NBA title. On the plane ride back from Boston after Game 6, Atkinson told Warriors coach Steve Kerr he wanted to run it back with the Dubs.
“I just love having him here,” Kerr told reporters on May 10. “He’s got a great sense of analytics. He’s got a great way of connecting the analytics with the tape and with the strategy. It makes for really good conversation. That’s one of the reasons I brought him here, we wanted to improve that part of our operation. … He’s been a great assistant for us. I love having him here. Happy for him he’s getting some interviews out there. We’ll see how it plays out, but it not, would be excited to have him back.”
Milwaukee is an interesting destination, as the team features perennial MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is 28 and under contract for the next two seasons with a player option for 2025-26. Giannis is in his prime, but his supporting cast of Khris Middleton (31), Jrue Holiday (32) and Robin Lopez (35) is only getting older.
The Bucks were the No. 1 seed in the East during the regular season but got bounced by the Miami Heat in the first round, before firing coach Mike Budenholzer eight days later.
Atkinson, 55, is an energetic fixture on the Warriors sidelines and bench during the games. He coached the Brooklyn Nets from 2016-20, guiding the team to the first round of the playoffs in 2019, before stepping down with a 118-190 record (.383).
“He’s great on the court,” Kerr said. “He really started his coaching career working players out. He loves to be on the court with players. Great eye for development and how to develop players. As a head coach, his team played with great energy and chemistry. You can feel that coming from him. He’s got a lot of passion for the game and works like crazy.”