June 23, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Sources – Cleveland interviews Kenny Atkinson and James Borrego

Sources – Cleveland interviews Kenny Atkinson and James Borrego

The Cleveland Cavaliers have begun the interview process for the franchise’s head coaching opening, and have received permission to interview two of the top candidates on the team’s roster: Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson and New Orleans assistant James Borrego, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

The Cavaliers plan to seek permission to talk to more sitting assistant coaches, but Atkinson and Borrego are both senior assistant coaches with head coaching backgrounds that appeal to the Cavaliers in their process to replace J.B. Bickerstaff, sources told ESPN.

The Cavaliers qualified for the Eastern Conference semifinals this season, winning 99 regular season games over the past two years.

Sources told ESPN that Borrego is a serious candidate in the Lakers’ search, which included a second interview with the team’s front office in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Borrego led the Charlotte Hornets to back-to-back Eastern Conference tournament berths as head coach, improving from 23-33 to 43 wins in his three seasons on the job. Like Atkinson, Borrego has a strong reputation for developing players — including since his decade with the San Antonio Spurs as Gregg Popovich’s assistant.

Atkinson was 118-190 in three-plus years with the Brooklyn Nets, inheriting a complete rebuild and showing improvement each season until he resigned during the injury-plagued 2019-20 season. Atkinson has strong relationships with two of the Cavaliers’ key players from the Nets’ teams – Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert.

Atkinson spent the 2020-21 season with the Clippers as an assistant before joining Steve Kerr’s Warriors, where he spent the past three years. Previously, Atkinson spent nine seasons as an NBA assistant, four with the New York Knicks, and three with the Atlanta Hawks.

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