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Former Nets coach in mix for Cavs job can reunite with LeVert, Allen

 Kenny Atkinson is a hell of a coach. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant drove him out of town, but the well respected veteran earned himself a ring on Golden State's 2022 Championship team as an assistant. 

Atkinson turned down a job offer from the Charlotte Hornets in 2022 as he's been a little more selective of what kind of roster, front office set up and franchise he's taking over. 

It now appears that Atkinson is in the running for the Cleveland Cavaliers job with JB Bickerstaff handed his walking papers, according to Shams Charania.


If Atkinson ultimately becomes the choice, he'll coach two former players that were with him in Brooklyn: Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen. 

Atkinson was able to tap into both players' potential and get the most out of them. 

Unfortunately, the superstar era in Brooklyn saw Atkinson's demise, but the Cavaliers will be getting a high character coach that helps develop young players and creates selfless leaders. 

With Donovan Mitchell's future unclear in Cleveland, the hiring of Atkinson would be a great insurance policy in case they end up losing their franchise player. 

Nightmare NBA finals matchup will rock Nets' World


The Brooklyn Nets don't have a dog in the fight. 

They snapped a playoff streak of four consecutive seasons this year. 

That doesn't mean that Nets fans don't have a rooting interest. 

It looks like Brooklyn fans will have to root for the lesser of two evils.

If things continue down this path in the Conference Finals, the nightmare matchup of Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks against the Boston Celtics will be a reality. 

You couldn't cherry pick two teams that Nets fans would want to see in the finals less. Perhaps Kevin Durant with the Phoenix Suns or James Harden with the Los Angeles Clippers would be the only exceptions. 

So the question becomes if a Boston- Dallas final is in the offing, who should Nets fans root for.

Irving recruited superstar talent to Brooklyn, only to burn down the house a few seasons later. The Celtics used the unprotected picks the Nets sent them in the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry trade to draft Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. 

The Celtics will always be a rival of the Nets. The two teams met in the 2021 playoffs with the Nets big three of Irving, Durant and Harden disposing of the Celtics in five games. 

Boston flipped the script in the 2022 playoffs, sweeping the Nets and thereby precipitating Durant's trade request. 

While Irving is among the most unlikable players to ever put on a Nets uniform, the presence of former New Jersey Net great Jason Kidd on the coaching staff and the historic rivalry with Boston, makes the Mavericks the lesser of two evils for Nets fans. 

Nets still with more playoff success this millennium than Knicks

 The New York Knicks have not made the Eastern Conference Finals since the 1999-2000 season when they reached the NBA finals and lost in five games to the San Antonio Spurs.

The better part of the first two decades of this millennium was littered with four seasons and playoff less campaigns for the Knicks. 

Meanwhile, the Nets went to back-to-back NBA finals in 2002 and 2003. They made the playoffs every year from 2002 to 2007.

The then New Jersey Nets had some lean years in their final seasons at the IZOD Center at the Meadowlands and the two-year interim stop the Prudential Center in Newark. 

Upon the Nets moved to Brooklyn, they made the playoffs for three consecutive years,  followed by a rebuild and three-year dry spell.

The Nets enjoyed a great run of five consecutive playoff berths that was snapped this year. 

The Nets may not have enjoyed much playoff success, in fact, only two series wins since moving to Brooklyn. 

But since 2001, the Nets have won 11 series and made 14 playoff appearances.h

Across the river, the Knicks have had seven playoff seasons and won three playoff series. You be the judge of which franchise has been more successful this millennium. 

Injury riddled Knicks might face same fate as banged up 2020-21 Nets


Injuries stink. They're also part of the game. The New York Knicks have tried to grind and battle their way through a whole host of injuries. 

Between Julius Randle announcing before the playoffs he was lost for the year, Bojan Bogdanović shutting it down after the first round series win over Philly, Mitchell Robinson going on the shelf after Game 1 against the Pacers, and OG Anunoby's hamstring injury in Game 2 of the semi-finals series, it's been almost too much to take for Knicks fans. 

Now, the team's emotional leader, Josh Hart, suffered a strained abdominal muscle on his left side. Hart tried to exit and re-enter two separate times during Friday night's Game 6, but he was unable to continue. 

His status for Game 7 is uncertain. Even if Hart gives it a go, he'll likely be compromised and not the same hustle player fans have seen this entire tenure as a Knick. 

So now the Knicks are staring at a Game 7 at home leaning heavily on their leader, Jalen Brunson, to take them to the finish line.  A berth in the Eastern Conference Finals is at stake. 

Where have we seen this storyline before?

Look no further back than the 2021 playoffs, when the Nets watched injury after injury decimate their team, leaving Kevin Durant on an island to try to play hero. 

Kyrie Irving, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge and others were banged up or lost for the playoffs, with the Nets losing an epic Game 7 at home to the eventual champion Bucks. 

Just like Durant before him, Brunson may be heroic, but the odds are stacked against the Knicks just like they were the Nets only three short years ago. 

The Knicks are hoping to avoid the same fate the Nets faced, a heartbreaking loss on their home court to end the season and a hopeful playoff run cut tragically short. 

Nets might trade for Cavs guard not named Donovan Mitchell


The talk of the NBA world is the future of Donovan Mitchell in Cleveland. Reports have began to surface about Mitchell's rocky relationship with guard Darius Garland. 

According to many media reports, if Mitchell is to consider signing a long-term extension with the Cavaliers, Garland would have to be moved. 

It's unclear Mitchell's intentions at this point and whether the Nets would even be atop his list of trade destinations.  Clearly, if Mitchell has no intentions of signing long-term in Cleveland, his list of suitors will be long. 

Expect the Lakers, Bulls, Nets and Knicks to be chasing his services among many others.

Mitchell will be a free agent after the 2024-25 season and instead of losing him for nothing, Cleveland would opt to move him now for a combination of future draft picks and rotation players. 

While Sean Marks can't get fixated on one player, the move that perhaps makes the most sense for the Nets is trading for a player like Garland. 

Dennis Schröder played well in his short time with the Nets after trade deadline, but Garland is a legitimate top 5-7 point guard in the league.

Marks could consider offloading Simmons' expiring, Dorian Finney-Smith and a sign and trade with Claxton, to net Garland and perhaps even Jared Allen y involving a third team.  

Sean Marks has been creative putting together three team mega deals. 

With the NBA playoffs heating up, Nets fans' attention will be on this summer to see what big moves their GM has under his sleeve. 

Knicks player trolls Haliburton with meme about maligned Net


Donte DiVincenzo didn't pull any punches in Game 5 and he is not pulling any punches in his meme game. 

Following the 121-91 win in Game 5 over Indiana at MSG, DiVincenzo took to Instagram to caught a stray via Instagram. 

New York can close out the series on Friday in Indiana. Haliburton had a down game with just 13 points and five rebounds. 

Clearly, the Pacers star has bulletin board material that he'll need to use as inspiration when he returns to Gainbridge Fieldhouse. 


Knicks on verge of something Nets' Big three never achieved


The New York Knicks defeated the Indiana Pacers 121-91 to take a 3-2 edge in the Eastern Conference semi-finals on Tuesday night. 

The series will turn back to Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indiana for Game 6 with the Knicks looking to close it out. 

The Knicks have not been to the Eastern Conference Finals since 1999.

 In that lockout shortened 50 game regular season, the Knicks advanced as the number 8th seed all the way to the NBA finals.  

They eventually fell in five games to the San Antonio Spurs. 

That feels like a lifetime ago, but the Nets best chance at a championship feels like yesterday. 

Even with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, the Brooklyn Nets never even reached an Eastern Conference Finals. 

In fact, the last time the Nets were in the Eastern Conference Finals was in 2003 when they were making their second of consecutive runs to the NBA Finals.

Not since the team relocated to Brooklyn to start the 2012-13 season have the Nets advanced past the second round of the playoffs.

Meanwhile, a Knicks squad without Julius Randle, OG Anunoby and Bojan Bogdanovic is doing something that a super team in Brooklyn could not achieve. 

It goes to show that togetherness, grit and hustle go just as far, if not farther than talent.

Durant, Harden and Irving had plenty of talent, but were sorely lacking in the intangible area of leadership. 

Barclays Center is early quiet while Madison Square Garden rocking between the Knicks and Rangers playoff runs this spring.

The Nets better regroup in short order because this Knicks core isn't going anywhere anytime soon.