Cavaliers hire Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson as coach

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Kenny Atkinson has worked as an assistant coach for the Warriors for the last three seasons.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers have appointed Kenny Atkinson, a former assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, as their new head coach, as announced by the Cavs today.

Atkinson served as an assistant coach with the Warriors for the past three seasons. Prior to this role, he was with the LA Clippers as an assistant coach during the 2020-21 season. Between 2016 and 2020, he was the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets until his departure from the team on March 7, 2020, following a 28-34 season.

“Kenny brings a wealth of experience, a proven track record of player development, and a relentless work ethic that aligns with the vision we have for this franchise,” stated Cavs president of basketball operations Koby Altman.

“His innovative approach will introduce a style of play and brand of basketball that will position us for sustainable success and the opportunity to compete for championships.”

About Atkinson: Having previously worked as an assistant under Mike D’Antoni in New York, 56-year-old Atkinson took on his first head coaching role with the Brooklyn Nets in 2016. During his tenure with the Nets, he achieved a record of 118-190 over four seasons before stepping down.

Atkinson, a native of Long Island, was hired as the head coach of the Nets by general manager Sean Marks in April 2016, when the team was struggling at the bottom of the NBA due to the aftermath of a trade with the Boston Celtics in 2013.

In his debut season, the Nets posted a record of 20-62, followed by 28-54 the next season. Expectations were low for the team in the subsequent season, but they surprised with a record of 42-40, securing a playoff spot for the first time since 2015. Atkinson played a key role in the development of players like D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie.

What’s next for Cavs: After parting ways with coach J.B. Bickerstaff following their loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Cavs are aiming to improve and build upon their 48-win season. The team hopes to secure Donovan Mitchell to a long-term contract extension, alongside young talents like Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, to enhance their competitiveness in the league.

Cleveland last reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018 during LeBron James’ tenure. Their recent acquisition, Mitchell, has bolstered the team, leading them to a 51-31 season last year. The Cavs hold the No. 20 pick in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft as they continue to strengthen their roster.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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