Warriors Coach Kenny Atkinson Among Candidates for Cavaliers Job, per Report

Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson high-fives a player during the NBA play-in tournament.
Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson high-fives a player during the NBA play-in tournament. / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson is in the mix to land a head-coaching job once again.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported Friday that Atkinson is "gaining steam" in the Cleveland Cavaliers' search for their next head coach. Other candidates include New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego—who Stein reports was the favorite before Atkinson became a candidate—and Minnesota Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori.

Atkinson served as the Brooklyn Nets' head coach for four seasons from 2016 to '20. He led the Nets to a surprising appearance in the 2019 playoffs but was fired by Brooklyn in March 2020. Over four seasons at the helm of a rebuilding franchise, Atkinson led Brooklyn to a 118–190 record.

The 57-year-old served one season as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers before joining the Warriors in 2021, where he has spent the last three seasons. Atkinson informally agreed to take the Hornets' head-coaching job on a four-year contract in 2022 but soon after declined their offer and returned to Golden State.

Cleveland is looking for a new voice in its locker room. J.B. Bickerstaff led the Cavaliers to the playoffs in 2023 and '24—the franchise's first back-to-back postseason trip without LeBron James since 1996—but was fired in May after Cleveland lost to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Tom Dierberger


Tom Dierberger is a staff writer and editor on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in November 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports and NBC Sports. Dierberger has a bachelor's in communication from St. John's University. In his spare time, he can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.