5 candidates to replace Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson next season

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4. Becky Hammon

The Nets are most likely looking for someone with a proven track record, so letting Kenny Atkinson go just to hire a first-time NBA head coach would be a bizarre twist. With that being said, it’s only a matter of time before Becky Hammon finally gets her shot as the first female head coach in league history, and because she’d probably do a great job, we can’t rule her out.

Hammon has been an assistant under Gregg Popovich since 2014, and up until recently, it felt like she was being groomed as his eventual successor with the San Antonio Spurs. However, when Pop was ejected from a game a few months back, it was new assistant Tim Duncan who took over, and when Popovich missed a game recently due to personal reasons, it was again the Big Fundamental who served as acting head coach.

Because it appears Duncan would have the fast track to the Spurs’ gig if he wants it once Pop eventually hangs it up, Hammon should continue to entertain vacancies around the league. She’s already expressed interest in being hired as the New York Knicks’ head coach as long as it comes with the stability of a long-term contract, and she interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks job a few years ago.

This would be a massive risk on the Nets’ part, even without factoring in the ensuing PR storm (positive though it may be, all the resulting media coverage would make it difficult for the Nets to focus on the task at hand, which has to be the whole point of parting ways with a respected coach like Atkinson). However, even though Hammon clearly has coaching chops and it’s only a matter of time before she gets her chance, Brooklyn doesn’t feel like the right fit if the goal is to hire someone with head coaching experience.