The NBA offseason is fully underway, and one team that’s currently in search of a head coach is the Cleveland Cavaliers. Coming off a second-round playoff elimination, the Cavs decided to part ways with J.B. Bickerstaff after more than four seasons. Multiple names are now linked to the job opening, and Kenny Atkinson is one of them.

A former head coach with the Brooklyn Nets, Atkinson is rumored to be “gaining steam” for the Cavs’ coaching job, per NBA insider Marc Stein. He currently serves as an assistant for the Golden State Warriors, where he’s worked since 2021.

More about Kenny Atkinson

Atkinson started his coaching career as an assistant in Europe. Then, in 2008, he joined Mike D’Antoni’s staff in New York, where he would help handle the Knicks for four years. Atkinson then moved over to Atlanta as an assistant for the Hawks prior to the 2013 season. After three full campaigns in A-Town, he went back to the Big Apple for his first head coaching job with the Nets.

Atkinson coached Brooklyn for nearly four seasons, mentoring the likes of D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin. Under Atkinson, Russell appeared in his sole All-Star Game (2019). The Nets made the playoffs during the 2018-19 season, finishing as the East’s sixth seed. However, they would fall to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.

Stepping down from his position in 2020, Atkinson had a brief stint as an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers before joining Steve Kerr’s staff in 2021. He was part of the Warriors’ 2022 championship team.

The Cavs’ other candidates 

As mentioned earlier, Kenny Atkinson isn’t the only one being connected to the Cavs. Marc Stein also writes that “James Borrego had initially been more widely billed as the favorite in coaching circles.” Borrego is known for his four-year tenure with the Charlotte Hornets, ranging from 2018 to the 2021 season. He’s currently the associate head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Minnesota Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori is also in contention, according to Stein. Nori has no experience as an NBA head coach, but he’s been an assistant with several teams ever since 2009. The 50-year-old was brought in by Chris Finch when the latter took over the Timberwolves in 2021.

Besides the job opening, the Cavs are also surrounded by rumors in other areas, such as whether or not they’ll continue the Donovan Mitchell-Darius Garland partnership. Trade speculations presently surround the two stars, and it’s unclear what the team has in mind moving forward. Add in the Jarrett Allen injury issue as well. There have been talks of a rift between Allen and the Cavs, which supposedly stems from the big man’s reluctance to play through a rib injury in the playoffs.

With everything going on, it’s bound to be an interesting summer in Cleveland.