The Cleveland Cavaliers have reached an agreement to hire Kenny Atkinson as their new head coach, according to sources familiar with the matter. Atkinson, currently serving as a top assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, is expected to finalize a contract with the Cavaliers in the coming days, marking a significant shift in the franchise's leadership.

Atkinson's selection comes after a thorough search process that reportedly narrowed down to him and New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego. The decision to hire Atkinson reflects the Cavaliers' desire to build upon their recent success and further develop their young talent.

Sources close to the Cavaliers' front office indicate that President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman and General Manager Mike Gansey are particularly enthusiastic about Atkinson's renowned player development program. They see his expertise as crucial for the continued growth of young center Evan Mobley, viewed as a cornerstone of the team's future.

Atkinson brings a wealth of experience to Cleveland, including a head coaching stint with the Brooklyn Nets from 2016 to 2020. During his tenure with the Nets, Atkinson posted a 118-190 record, navigating a challenging rebuild and showing year-over-year improvement. Notably, his time in Brooklyn overlapped with the development of current Cavaliers players Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, potentially easing the transition for all parties involved.

The hiring comes at a pivotal moment for the Cavaliers, who have won 99 regular-season games over the past two seasons and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals. With this solid foundation in place, Atkinson will be tasked with elevating the team to the next level of competitiveness in the Eastern Conference.

One of the immediate challenges facing Atkinson and the Cavaliers' front office will be securing All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell on a contract extension. Mitchell, who has one year remaining on his current deal before he can exercise an early termination option, represents a key piece of the Cavaliers' long-term plans.

Atkinson's journey to Cleveland includes significant experience as an assistant coach. He spent nine seasons in assistant roles across the NBA, including stints with the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, and most recently, the Golden State Warriors under Steve Kerr. This diverse background is expected to inform his approach in Cleveland, blending player development with strategic acumen.

The Cavaliers' decision to hire Atkinson comes after parting ways with J.B. Bickerstaff, who led the team from the 2019-20 season through the 2023-24 campaign. Under Bickerstaff, Cleveland made two playoff appearances but failed to advance beyond the first round.