The Cleveland Cavaliers are probably still stewing over their five-game dismissal by the New York Knicks in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs, but will now need to get to work on finding a new coach.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder is poaching assistant Antonio Lang from the Cavs, via Clevelanddotcom’s Chris Fedor (originally Michael Scotto of HoopsHype). He served under Snyder from 2014-19 on the Utah Jazz. Their reunion is yet another bitter pill for an already bitter fan base to swallow.
Lang’s departure may not seem debilitating, especially since assistants move on all the time. However, he has been with the team during the development of a young core that includes Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro. His absence could have some effect, at least initially. J.B. Bickerstaff will now make some calls and try to find a suitable replacement to join his staff.
The Cavs and Hawks are each at sort of a crossroads. Atlanta may be forced into a roster upheaval after two fairly mediocre seasons while Cleveland has to figure out how to best maximize the talent around Donovan Mitchell. The Eastern Conference waits for no team and should remain a gauntlet for the foreseeable future.
One cannot blame Lang, a back-to-back National Champion with Duke, for wanting to link back up with the man with whom he helped helm a top-seeded Jazz team in 2020-21. It is only natural he would want the opportunity to recreate that successful formula in Atlanta.
The move could also end up working out for the best for the Cavs. In an offseason that should be rife with brainstorming, maybe it is best to right away have a concrete need for the organization to address.