Clippers Rumors: Kenny Atkinson, Larry Drew Among Candidates to Join Lue's Staff

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2020

FILE - In this March 3, 2020 file photo, Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson looks on from the sideline during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston.  The Nets surprisingly split with Atkinson on Saturday, March 7, even as they remain on track for a second consecutive playoff berth. The morning after Atkinson guided the Nets to a rout of San Antonio, the Nets announced that they had mutually agreed to part ways with the fourth-year coach. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm, File)
Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

Former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson is considered a "strong contender" to be an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers under Tyronn Lue, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.  

Per Stein, former head coach Larry Drew is also expected to join the staff while Miami Heat assistant Dan Craig is considered a "top target."

Lue was named the new head coach of the Clippers on Tuesday after serving as an assistant under Doc Rivers last season. Los Angeles made a coaching change following a disappointing second-round exit in the playoffs that included a blown 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets.

It now appears Lue, who led the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title in 2015-16, is clearly looking to fill his staff with experienced coaches.

The Los Angeles Lakers took a similar approach over the past year with former head coaches Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins working under Frank Vogel.

Atkinson spent four seasons coaching the Nets, taking a team that won 20 games in his first year to the playoffs in his third season. He was surprisingly fired in March after a 28-34 start to the 2019-20 campaign.

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Though he was a candidate for other head coaching spots around the league, including getting support with the New York Knicks, it seems he will now take an assistant role.

Drew would also bring experience after serving as a head coach with the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Cavaliers. He was an assistant under Lue for three straight trips to the NBA finals and then took over for Lue after he was dismissed in 2018-19.

In parts of five seasons as a head coach, the 62-year-old has a 162-226 regular-season record.

Craig has risen through the Heat organization and has spent 17 years with the team, beginning as a video intern before spending the past four seasons as an assistant coach.