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NBA Rumors: Warriors’ Kenny Atkinson ‘Leader’ for Cavs HC Job; Knicks’ Bryant Linked | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

Written by on May 26, 2024

Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

There is reportedly a “leader” for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ coaching vacancy.

Jason Lloyd of The Athletic reported Sunday that Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson is seen as the top choice in Cleveland’s search. However, Lloyd also listed New York Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant as a possible candidate.

Bryant is a longtime assistant coach who has been in his position with the Knicks since the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

He was an assistant with the Utah Jazz before that, which is where a potential connection comes into play. Lloyd pointed out that Bryant was with Utah at the same time Donovan Mitchell was the go-to option in the team’s offense.

Mitchell is entering the final season of his contract before he has a player option for the 2025-26 campaign. His future with the Cavaliers is a major discussion point this offseason, and hiring someone he is familiar with as head coach surely wouldn’t hurt the team’s chances to sign him to a long-term deal.

As for Atkinson, he has the head coaching experience that Bryant is missing.

He was the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets for four seasons from 2016-17 until he was fired after 62 games in 2019-20. The Nets went to the playoffs in 2019 and 2020 but did not win a series.

Atkinson has also been an assistant coach for the Knicks, Atlanta Hawks and Warriors.

Cleveland is looking to take the next step as a true contender in the Eastern Conference. It reached the playoffs the last two seasons under J.B. Bickerstaff but fired him after it won just one series in those two combined appearances.

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