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Case for Top Cavaliers Coaching Candidates

The Cleveland Cavaliers finished the 2023-2024 season with a record of 48-34 in the regular season. They then went on to win in the first round of the NBA playoffs in game 7 against the Orlando Magic. Their luck ran out in round 2, however, losing in 5 games to the eventual NBA champions, the Boston Celtics. With this second-round loss, the Cavs fired long-time head coach J.B. Bickerstaff as reports of J.B. losing the locker room came out as soon as the Cavaliers season ended. This begs the question: What is next for the Cavs in the head coach position? Two candidates have reportedly risen to the top, and today, I will break down these two coaches’ backgrounds to give Cavaliers fans a better picture of the two most brought-up names for the head coaching opening in Cleveland.

Pelicans Assistant Coach, James Borrego

James Borrego has been a popular name for multiple head coaching openings in the NBA. Borrego has head coaching experience, specifically with the Charlotte Hornets from 2018-2022, and two NBA championships as an assistant coach with the Spurs in 2005 and 2007. Borrego also has an offensive focus which helps, as that has been a struggle at times for the Cleveland Cavaliers roster. His aforementioned coaching experience would be a good fit for this Cavaliers roster as they look to make a championship push.

The poor record during his tenure with the Hornets does not solely reflect on Borrego, as factors like roster structure, ownership, and team chemistry also play a role. Hence, his experience and potential outweigh these concerns, making him an attractive candidate for other teams, such as the Pistons, Because of this attractiveness in his background, the Cavs may want to scoop him up sooner rather than later.

Warriors Assistant Coach, Kenny Atkinson

Kenny Atkinson is another top name connected to the Cleveland Cavaliers coaching opening. Like Borrego, Atkinson is also an offensive-minded coach, which could benefit the Cavaliers as they have struggled on the offensive side of the ball at times. Atkinson has been a coach in some form in the NBA since 2008, serving as the head coach for the Brooklyn Nets from 2016-2020. He won an NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2022 as an assistant coach.

Atkinson, like Borrego, seems more prepared and ready for a second stint as a head coach in the NBA. His previous experience, combined with his offensive-minded approach, makes him another fit the Cavaliers are interested in.

The Cavaliers’ head coaching search has been long and confusing, with many names being mentioned along the way who may still have a chance as the Cavaliers head coach. The reason many of the other options mentioned in the past may still have a chance is due to the media thinking Borrego would be named head coach days ago at this point, and the Cavaliers have still yet to make a decision. All I know is that I am ready to find out who our new coach is so we can move on to bigger problems, like Donovan Mitchell signing a contract extension and what the roster will look like for the 2024-2025 season.


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