Kenny Atkinson

Report: Cavs can interview Warriors' Atkinson for head coach vacancy

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The Cleveland Cavaliers appear very interested in Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson for their head-coaching job.

The Cavaliers have received permission from the Warriors to interview Atkinson for the vacancy, along with New Orleans Pelicans assistant James Borrego, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday, citing sources.

While Atkinson and Borrego are "two top candidates" in Cleveland's coaching search, per Wojnarowski, The Athletic's Jason Lloyd reported Sunday that the Warriors' top assistant is the "leader" for the job.

Borrego, meanwhile, is a serious candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers job and took part in a second interview with the team Wednesday, Wojnarowski reported, citing sources.

The Lakers also are rumored to have Atkinson among their pool of candidates. Atkinson has spent the last three seasons on Golden State's staff, serving as a key figure during the Warriors' 2022 NBA Finals run. The 56-year-old previously served as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets from 2016 to 2020, overseeing a strong turnaround during his time with the team.

But Atkinson also has ties to the Cavaliers thanks to those years in Brooklyn, where he coached Cleveland players Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert.

Just because Atkinson is a top candidate and reportedly will be interviewed doesn't necessarily mean he's leaving Golden State, however. While the Warriors battled the Boston Celtics in the 2022 Finals, Atkinson agreed to become the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets before ultimately deciding it was best to stay with the Warriors.

Atkinson also reportedly was a candidate for the Milwaukee Bucks head coach job after the team fired Adrian Griffin early in the 2023-24 NBA season, before ultimately hiring Doc Rivers as his replacement.

As Warriors coach Steve Kerr's right-hand man and an NBA champion, it's no wonder there's so much interest in Atkinson.

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