For months, almost all reports related to the search for the New York Knicks’ head coach have brought Tom Thibodeau in command to get the position under the new president Leon Rose. However, former Brooklyn Nets manager Kenny Atkinson may be late for work. According to Sports Illustrated Jonathan Macri, Atkinson was interviewed by the Knicks on Monday, which appears to be his third interview with the team.
SNY has reported numerous times that Atkinson has internal support within the Knicks organization. He is one of 11 candidates, including interim coach Mike Miller, to be considered for the lead role. The New York Post reported that each candidate received two interviews: a brief introductory Zoom call followed by a more in-depth meeting.
While New York has encountered a long list of potential hires, it is believed to be a threesome between Thibodeau, Atkinson and Hall of Fame tip guard Jason Kidd, who reportedly “amazed” Knicks brass during his interview. The New York Post reported that Kidd is the only “long-term threat” to Thibs.
It is not clear what these latest news about Atkinson mean. The interview was later confirmed by Marc Berman of the New York Post. SNY’s Ian Begley recently spoke on New York’s ESPN radio about the latest hurdles left for a front row candidate, like Thibodeau, to clarify: a contract has to be negotiated and the final signature is required by owner James Dolan.
All indications suggested that the Knicks had completed their round of interviews and were simply finalizing their decision later this month, making the timing of the Atkinson interview interesting. It is possible that he may be considered for an assistant role, but it would seem strange to take him to another interview before the head coach’s decision was announced.
Atkinson was assistant coach with the Knicks from 2008-2012, joining the organization under Mike D’Antoni. He later moved to Atlanta, where he worked under Mike Budenholzer, before moving to networking.