National Basketball Association
Cavs reportedly tab Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson as next head coach
National Basketball Association

Cavs reportedly tab Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson as next head coach

Published Jun. 24, 2024 11:23 a.m. ET

After a month-long search, the Cleveland Cavaliers have their next head coach.

The Cavaliers have hired Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson to serve as their next head coach with both sides finalizing a deal, ESPN reported Monday. Atkinson reportedly beat out former Charlotte Hornets head coach and current New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego.

This will mark Atkinson's second head coaching gig of his career. He was previously the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets for three-plus seasons (2016-20), going 118-190 over that time. Despite the losing record, Atkinson's decision to step down in March 2020 was viewed as a surprise at the time, as he helped the Nets become a playoff team. 


Now, Atkinson will take over another playoff squad. The Cavaliers went 48-34 this past season, reaching the playoffs for the second straight year before losing to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Though they showed continued progress, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was fired by the team on May 23. 

While the Cavaliers have been an ascending team over the last two seasons, there are some questions about the futures of some of their key players. Shooting guard Donovan Mitchell is entering the final year of his contract and is eligible for an extension this offseason. There have also been trade rumors surrounding point guard Darius Garland and the Cavs' frontcourt duo (Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen).

If the Cavaliers opt not to split up their starting frontcourt, Atkinkson will be reunited with a pair of standouts from his days coaching the Nets. Both Allen and wing Caris LeVert emerged as starters for the Nets during Atkinson's tenure in Brooklyn. 

Atkinson, who turned 57 in June, has served as an assistant coach in the NBA for 12 seasons. He spent the past three years with the Warriors, helping them win a title in 2022. He reportedly informally accepted an offer to become the Hornets' head coach during the Warriors' title run that year, but later pulled out. 

Atkinson's other stops in the NBA have been with the LA Clippers, Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks.

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