Report: Atkinson among finalists for Lakers' coaching job


For the second time this month, a Warriors assistant reportedly is a finalist to become the head coach of a fellow NBA Western Conference team.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching search is down to three finalists including Kenny Atkinson, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Friday, citing sources.

Atkinson joined Steve Kerr’s bench as an assistant coach prior to the 2021-22 season and previously served as coach of the Brooklyn Nets from 2016 to 2020.

The Lakers first received permission to interview Atkinson on May 11, and he also is going through the interview process for the Charlotte Hornets’ coaching vacancy. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that the Hornets were planning to interview Atkinson a second time, citing sources. 

Along with Atkinson, Charania reported that Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts are the Lakers' other two finalists for the coaching role made available when Frank Vogel was fired at the end of the regular season. 

On May 9, Warriors assistant Mike Brown was announced as the Sacramento Kings’ new head coach, meaning Kerr will have two positions to fill next season should Atkinson land either the Lakers or Hornets role. 

Atkinson was also in the mix for the Kings job, and former Warriors coach Mark Jackson was one of three finalists for the position.

It remains to be seen if Atkinson can win over the front office in Los Angeles as the process wraps up, but Charania and Sam Amick also reported in The Athletic, citing sources, that Ham has made the strongest impression on the Lakers ahead of the final round of interviews.

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In the past, Kerr has described Atkinson as an out-of-the-box thinker with infectious energy. The possibility of the 54-year-old taking his zeal to Southern California or perhaps even North Carolina next season comes as no surprise, especially given the Warriors success on the court this year. 

Wherever Atkinson ends up, whether it’s somewhere else or in the Bay again, Dub Nation knows he can help produce winning basketball.

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