Nets Rumors: DeAndre Jordan, Jarrett Allen's Roles Created 'Internal Strife' in 2019

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 12, 2022

Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen stands near the bench after the Cavaliers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 133-115 in an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 10, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)
AP Photo/David Dermer

Former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson's preference to start Jarrett Allen over DeAndre Jordan during the 2019-20 season reportedly led to "internal strife" in the organization.

ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz reported the battle became one of philosophy: The team's new veteran talent preferred Jordan, while the old guard that was around during the franchise's rebuilding period viewed Allen as a potential building block.

Most observers in 2019 viewed Jordan's four-year, $40 million contract with the Nets as a cost of doing business to acquire Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Jordan, Durant and Irving made a pact to play together at the 2016 Olympics, so the center was likely to come along regardless of whether it made basketball sense.

Atkinson was correct in preferring Allen to Jordan, though. By the time he arrived in Brooklyn, Jordan was no longer the All-NBA player he was with the Los Angeles Clippers; he was slower and more apt to get beaten in pick-and-roll coverage. There's a reason Jordan has struggled to find a consistent role since the Nets traded him to the Detroit Pistons in September.

Allen, meanwhile, blossomed into an All-Star this season in Cleveland after being dealt last year in the James Harden trade. He's a nightly double-double threat, spry in pick-and-roll coverage and still only 23 years old. While it's unlikely the Nets could have kept him in any iteration of the Harden deal, Allen is the exact type of player Brooklyn has been missing in its defensive middle.

Being right in hindsight is likely of little solace to Atkinson, who lost his first head coaching gig as part of the fallout from the new-look Nets. He's since been an assistant coach with the Clippers and Golden State Warriors.