The Los Angeles Lakers have received permission to interview Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson for their open head coaching job, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Lakers fired Frank Vogel after the team missed the playoffs earlier this spring.
Atkinson is currently in his first season as an assistant with the Warriors following a one-year stint with the Los Angeles Clippers’ staff. He spent more than three seasons leading the Brooklyn Nets, his only head coaching job in the league, from 2016-2020, where he compiled a 118-190 overall record. Atkinson has also worked as an assistant with the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks.
Atkinson is also receiving interest from the Charlotte Hornets, and he reportedly interviewed for that open job in recent days.
Atkinson and the Warriors are currently in the middle of their Western Conference semifinals series with the Memphis Grizzlies. Atkinson’s fellow assistant, Mike Brown, recently accepted the top job with the Sacramento Kings.
Lakers owner: ‘I’m not happy’
The Lakers have been slow to replace Vogel after missing the playoffs just two years after winning an NBA title.
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss promised she was willing to “look at everything” this offseason to try and rectify the issue.
“I’m growing impatient just because we had the fourth-highest payroll in the league. … When you spend that kind of money on the luxury tax, you expect to go deep into the playoffs,” she told The Los Angeles Times this week. “So, yeah, it was gut-wrenching for me to go out on a limb like that and not get the results that we were looking for. … I’m not happy, I’m not satisfied.”
Buss also revealed that she’s reaching out to former Lakers star and executive Magic Johnson — who suddenly quit his front-office job — and former coach and her ex-boyfriend Phil Jackson for help this summer.
But, perhaps more importantly, Buss said she’s fully behind both LeBron James and general manager Rob Pelinka.
“I want him to feel confident in the team, that we have the pieces to win a championship,” Buss said of James, via The Times. “He has to be happy … I want to make sure that he’s happy.”
Whether that’s with Atkinson at the helm, however, remains to be seen.