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NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Knicks' Kenny Atkinson Interview, Kevin Love Trade

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2020

Kevin Love
Kevin LoveDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

Since the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers will not return to the court this season, both franchises are focused entirely on improving their respective futures.

For the Knicks, priority No. 1 is finding the next head coach. While they tabbed Mike Miller as the interim boss after firing David Fizdale in early December, it appears likely someone else will be leading the team for the 2020-21 campaign.

Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic recently reported Tom Thibodeau is the front-runner for the vacancy. But the process is far from over; New York is still interviewing other candidates.

According to Sports Illustrated's Jonathan Macri, the Knicks had another meeting with former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson on Monday.

Marc Berman of the New York Post noted it's unclear whether the interview was Atkinson's second or third with the team. Sources told him the Knicks are doing a "very thorough" job.

Atkinson compiled a 118-190 record in nearly four seasons with Brooklyn. The Nets improved from an NBA-worst 20-62 in 2016-17 to 42-40 last year, reaching the playoffs and falling to the Philadelphia 76ers in the opening round.

They added Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving last offseason, suggesting a bright Atkinson-led future in Brooklyn.

Perhaps Atkinson will be coaching with the Knicks instead of against them.
Perhaps Atkinson will be coaching with the Knicks instead of against them.Kathy Willens/Associated Press

However, it wasn't meant to be.

His tenure came to a surprising and abrupt halt in Marchonly a handful of days before the leaguewide stoppage.

Despite the unceremonious end, Atkinson proved his merit as an NBA coach. And even though Thibodeau seems likely to get the job because of his relationship with team president Leon Rose, the Knicks are wise to interview Atkinson multiple times.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers are exploring a different kind of change to the organization.

Soon after first-year coach John Beilein resigned in February, the team agreed to a multi-year contract with J.B. Bickerstaff as his replacement. Now, the Cavs are determining howor ifKevin Love fits their long-term plans.

Cleveland is open to a trade but isn't rushing to part with the veteran forward, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com:

"The Cavs will not do a salary dump for Love. They want some combination of draft picks and young, ascending players for Love. Now, in order to get that kind of haul, which many around the league continue to scoff at, the Cavs would likely need to take back a bloated salary. In that kind of package, the draft pick would be considered the Cavs’ sweetener in exchange for the other team’s bad, lengthier salary."

Love has three years and nearly $91.5 million left on his deal, per HoopsHype. That's not a prohibitively expensive contract for a star player, but the dilemma is how much longer he may deserve the label; he turns 32 in September.

Last season, he averaged 17.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 37.4 percent from three-point range.

Is that enough production for another team to invest heavily? Early indications suggest not, considering Fedor noted much of the league isn't interested in the price unless the Cavs absorb a "bad, lengthier salary" in return.

Between a tepid market and no rush to deal him, a trade seems unlikely. Nevertheless, Love will probably hold a regular spot in trade rumors throughout Cleveland's offseason.

            

Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.

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