Report: Dan Gilbert Could Hire Kenny Atkinson As Cavaliers Coach Since Tom Izzo Is An Atkinson Fan

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Dan Gilbert could hire Kenny Atkinson as the new head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers since Tom Izzo is an Atkinson fan.

Kenny Atkinson, Cavs, Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert, Tom Izzo
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The Cavaliers are expected to hire Atkinson, James Borrego or Micah Nori. 

“Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego, who was also a finalist for the Lakers’ post, had been increasing billed this month as gaining traction to be hired by the Cavaliers,” Stein wrote. “Yet as I tweeted Friday night, I’ve heard from multiple league insiders that Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson is gaining steam in the race for Cleveland’s job that has confounded many in coaching circles.

“Minnesota’s Micah Nori has also been in contention for the Cavaliers’ post and is likewise said to have impressed in the interview process. Potentially boosting Atkinson’s chances: Legendary Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is said to be an Atkinson fan. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, of course, is a well-known Izzo fan who graduated from Michigan State and is said to have resumed significant involvement in team affairs compared to recent years.

“It’s believed that the Cavaliers are closing in on their ultimate choice, while Detroit’s sudden search to replace Monty Williams seems likely to stretch into July.”

The Cavaliers lost to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2024 playoffs in five games. 

Atkinson went 118-190 with the Brooklyn Nets in the regular season. He was 1-4 in the postseason. 

Atkinson has strong relationships with Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert. He coached them in Brooklyn. 

Donovan Mitchell is expected to sign a four-year extension with the Cavaliers this offseason. The All-Star can sign a four-year, $208 million deal. 

One of the top scorers in the NBA, Mitchell averaged 26.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 2023-24 while shooting 46.2% from the field, 36.8% from beyond the arc and 86.5% from the free-throw line.

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