Kenny Atkinson

Cavs’ Darius Garland: “I Don’t Want To Be Traded”

A May report from The Athletic suggested that if Donovan Mitchell were to sign a contract extension this offseason, Darius Garland‘s agent Rich Paul was expected to have a conversation with the Cavaliers about possibly finding a new home for his client. However, even though Mitchell signed his extension, Garland is uninterested in initiating that conversation, as he told Chris Fedor of (subscriber link).

“I don’t want to be traded,” Garland said. “Those are just rumors.”

Sources tell Fedor that Paul and Cavaliers head of basketball operations Koby Altman have spoken this offseason, but there has been no indication that Garland’s camp is seeking a change of scenery, and the team has made it clear it has no interest in moving the former All-Star.

According to Fedor, Garland was thrilled for Mitchell when his backcourt mate signed a lucrative new deal with Cleveland and was excited about the team’s hiring of Kenny Atkinson as its new head coach.

Garland has been in Las Vegas participating in some on-court workouts and meeting with Atkinson — during a dinner on Friday, the two men discussed offensive schemes and sets, as well as the 24-year-old’s role, Fedor notes.

“It sounds really good,” Garland said. “A lot of spacing and a lot of room for me and Don and all of the other guys to be able to thrive.”

Atkinson, who has spoken about Garland in glowing terms since being hired in Cleveland, shares his point guard’s enthusiasm.

“I can’t wait to work with them,” Atkinson said of the Cavs’ star guards. “I was a point guard and that’s the quarterback. Those guys are running the show and it’s such a huge position in this league. I identity with them. Huge fan of Darius. Always been a fan. Underrated. Underrated passer. I don’t think he gets enough credit for the feel. Then, Donovan we all know, he’s the real deal. The great ones have a different type of work ethic. He’s wired a little bit differently.”

Garland had a down year in 2023/24, as his averages of 18.0 PPG and 6.5 APG and his .446/.371/.834 shooting line were all below his career rates. But that was less about sharing the ball with Mitchell and more about other a handful of other factors, including a fractured jaw and the weight loss that resulted from drinking out of a straw for over a month. Garland’s grandmother also passed away, according to Fedor, which led to him leaving the team on off days multiple times.

“It was a lot,” Garland told Fedor. “Sometimes you just have to go through it. Always bumps in the road. This was a big speed bump. It was really tough last year. It was definitely a learning experience for me. Just tried to stay mentally locked in and tried to keep my head up and keep a smile on my face. I just had to stay mentally strong while going through a tough time in my life and having to fight adversity.”

Cavs Notes: Wade, Hendry, Geriot, Travers, Okoro

Dean Wade missed the last 19 games of the Cavaliers‘ regular season and was only able to suit up for three of the team’s 12 playoff contests due to a right knee sprain. However, according to Chris Fedor of (Twitter link), Wade is no longer experiencing any pain in that knee.

As Fedor details, the veteran forward took a few weeks off after the Cavs were eliminated from the postseason and then resumed working out in mid-June.  He has been conducting full-court workouts in recent weeks with no issues, Fedor adds.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • Trevor Hendry, who worked under Kenny Atkinson for three years in Brooklyn, is joining Atkinson’s new staff in Cleveland as an assistant coach, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Hendry was Brooklyn’s head video coordinator during Atkinson’s tenure but was later promoted to an assistant coaching role under Jacque Vaughn.
  • The Cavaliers are still working through various coaching staff changes, according to Fedor, who tweets that veteran assistant Dan Geriot likely won’t remain with the team. The former head coach of Cleveland’s G League team, Geriot has been a Cavs assistant for several years, but appears likely to join the Pelicans in a front-of-the-bench role, says Fedor.
  • Luke Travers, the 56th overall pick in the 2022 draft, will be with the Cavaliers for a third straight Summer League in Las Vegas. A 22-year-old guard/forward, Travers remains under contract with Melbourne in Australia’s National Basketball League, but has an NBA out in that deal and would be interested in making the move to Cleveland if the opportunity arises, Fedor writes for “ASAP,” Travers said of his timeline for making the move to the NBA. “You’re trying to get there as soon as possible, and you don’t want to wait around and stuff. I’ve just been trying to put in the work. … It’s all been positive talks (with the Cavaliers). They’re always trying to help me in any way they can and give me a little feedback here and there.”
  • Sources tell Fedor that a spot on the Cavaliers’ roster for 2024/25 is unlikely for Travers, though there’s some curiosity within the organization about how he’d look in Atkinson’s system. The Cavs continue to negotiate with restricted free agent forward Isaac Okoro and are operating under the assumption that they’ll have just one roster spot left to fill if Okoro returns, Fedor explains. Cleveland currently has just 12 players on standard contracts, so that suggests the team doesn’t plan to immediately fill its 15th spot.

Johnnie Bryant To Be Associate Head Coach In Cleveland

Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant will become Kenny Atkinson‘s associate head coach with the Cavaliers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Bryant, who has been on Tom Thibodeau’s staff for the past four years, was still under contract in New York, so he had to get approval from Knicks ownership before he could accept the new job, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY (Twitter link). Begley notes that Bryant interviewed for the head coaching job in Cleveland and has a strong relationship with Donovan Mitchell, whom he previously coached in Utah.

A college point guard at San Francisco and Utah, Bryant broke into the NBA as a player development assistant with the Jazz in 2012. He was promoted to assistant coach in 2014.

Bryant is the latest addition to a staff that is coming together quickly after Atkinson was hired in late June. Former NBA player DeMarre Carroll and ex-Lakers assistant Jordan Ott are also joining Atkinson’s staff as assistants.

Cavaliers Notes: Atkinson, Mobley, Allen, Garland

Kenny Atkinson was eager to pursue the Cavaliers‘ head coaching job after the team fired J.B. Bickerstaff in May, writes Tom Withers of The Associated Press. Atkinson recognizes that Cleveland has the potential to become a serious contender in the East after two straight playoff appearances, as he explained at Monday’s introductory press conference.

“The first thing I said (was), ‘I want this job, I’m going for it and I’m going to be aggressive,’” Atkinson told reporters. “I knew all the great things that were in place.”

This is the second head coaching job for Atkinson, who compiled a 118-190 record while overseeing a rebuilding project in Brooklyn before being let go in 2020. Since then, he spent one season as an assistant to Tyronn Lue with the Clippers and three years on Steve Kerr’s staff with the Warriors. He compared that experience to “getting your doctorate in basketball.”

“It’s a partnership,” Atkinson said. “Ty was great at it. Steve was a master at it. When you’re making big decisions, sure, you’re the ultimate decision-maker. But you have talked that through with your best players. In my experience, they might say: ‘No, why don’t we do this in the pick-and-roll? Why don’t we do this?’ So really, it’s a true partnership, and that means you better be a great listener when you do have those one-on-ones.”

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Getting the chance to coach Evan Mobley was one of the things that attracted Atkinson to the job, per Chris Fedor of In his discussions with Cavs’ management, Atkinson described his detailed plan to develop Mobley’s offensive skills in hopes of making him one of the league’s top five players. “I do think we can schematically get the ball in his hands more quite honestly,” Atkinson said. “It’s going to be in multiple ways. I think when you have a guy that versatile, it could be him in transition bringing the ball up, it could be him handling in a five out situation or him handling in pick and roll. I think there’s creative things we can do to help him.”
  • Appearing on ESPN Cleveland, Brian Windhorst (Twitter video link) says teams “definitely” have interest in trading for Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen, but Atkinson wants to keep him. “I don’t think they’re trading him,” Windhorst said. Atkinson previously coached Allen during his time with the Nets.
  • Windhorst also expressed skepticism that the Cavaliers will look to move Darius Garland (Twitter video link), who has been the subject of trade speculation related to Donovan Mitchell‘s contract extension. “I don’t think the market is there for Darius Garland. … I think it’s a terrible time to trade Darius Garland,” said Windhorst, who added that he’s not convinced the point guard will even want a trade.

Cavs President Believes Mitchell Will Sign Extension

Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman expressed optimism that the club will reach an extension agreement with star guard Donovan Mitchell this offseason, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Altman and new head coach Kenny Atkinson visited Mitchell this past weekend in Los Angeles when the guard hosted a summer camp.

“We feel good about Donovan,” Altman said. “He’s in a great space mentally. He’s healthy. He was out there with those young high school players, hooping in a really good space. Really enjoyed the fact that him and Kenny could sit down and talk about the future, talk about the team. He is still under contract right now, so I think we can talk about him as a Cavalier. He’s invested. He’s really invested in what we’re doing, and hopefully soon we’ll have more of a decisive answer on [a contract extension] for you. But he’s been great. He’s been super involved and super collaborative and very, very much pro-Cleveland.”

Mitchell is eligible to sign a four-year, $200MM+ extension as early as Saturday (July 6), when the league’s moratorium ends. A new deal would see the see the 27-year-old decline his $37.1MM player option for 2025/26. He’ll make $35.41MM in ’24/25.

Mitchell’s involvement with the franchise this offseason included his input during the Cavs’ coaching search. He had a conversation with Atkinson and at least one other candidate during the search, according to Fedor. Mitchell endorsed the hiring of the former Warriors assistant.

Atkinson said they connected on a personal level. That’s a key, since Mitchell reportedly was unhappy with former coach J.B. Bickerstaff last season over a number of issues.

“We had a great sitdown,” Atkinson said. “We also have a little bit of East Coast, similar backgrounds. We didn’t grow up far from each other really, if you think about it.”

If Mitchell decides not to sign an extension, Cleveland would look into potential trades, Fedor writes. However, he says all the momentum is headed in the other direction.

Cavaliers Officially Hire Kenny Atkinson As Head Coach

JUNE 28: The Cavaliers have officially announced the hiring of Atkinson, with president of basketball operations Koby Altman referring to it as the culmination of a “thorough and extensive search.”

“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,” Altman said in a statement. “His innovative approach will instill a style of play and brand of basketball that will give us a chance for sustainable success and ultimately compete for Championships. His familiarity coaching alongside some of the NBA’s best elevates this partnership and we are excited that Kenny will guide our team and help us achieve our goals both on and off the court.”

JUNE 26: The Cavaliers and Atkinson have agreed to a five-year contract, reports Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

JUNE 24: The Cavaliers will hire Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson as their next head coach, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The two sides are working on a contract and an agreement is expected soon, Wojnarowski adds.

Atkinson and Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego were the finalists for the position, according to Wojnarowski, who hears that Cleveland prioritized Atkinson because of the potential influence his player development program could have on Evan Mobley. Atkinson also has a prior relationship with Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert after coaching them in Brooklyn.

Atkinson’s only previous head coaching experience came with the Nets, where he compiled a 118-190 record while overseeing a rebuilding project. He resigned after the 2019/20 season, then spent a year with the Clippers before becoming Steve Kerr’s top assistant with Golden State in 2021. Wojnarowski notes that Atkinson briefly accepted a head coaching job with the Hornets two years ago before changing his mind and staying with the Warriors.

The Cavaliers conducted an extensive search after firing J.B. Bickerstaff last month, as our coaching search tracker shows. Nuggets assistant David Adelman, Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant, Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori and Heat assistant Chris Quinn all reportedly interviewed for the job, while Mavericks assistant Alex Jensen, Bucks assistant Dave Joerger and former Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts also reportedly received consideration.

Atkinson will take over a Cavs team that has improved significantly over the past two seasons, but didn’t achieve enough in the playoffs to save Bickerstaff’s job. Among the issues Atkinson will have to address is how to get the most out of similar players in Mobley and Allen in the frontcourt and Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland in the backcourt, assuming Cleveland keeps the core of its roster intact.

Negotiating a long-term extension with Mitchell will be the team’s next priority, Wojnarowski adds. The All-Star guard has a player option on his $37MM contract for 2025/26.

Borrego remains a “prominent candidate” for the Pistons, who now have the only open head coaching job in the league, Wojnarowski tweets. After joining the staff in New Orleans last summer, Borrego worked closely with Trajan Langdon, who recently took over as head of basketball operations in Detroit.

Atkinson’s departure is a significant loss for the Warriors, notes Anthony Slater of the Athletic (Twitter link), who hears that the team will consider adding two new assistants this offseason.

Central Rumors: LaVine, Bulls, Pistons, Cade, Bucks, Cavs, More

The Bulls continue to seek a deal involving Zach LaVine, but last week’s four-year, $78MM contract agreement between the Kings and Malik Monk may have removed a prime suitor from the picture, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who says some rival executives believe retaining Monk will take Sacramento out of talks for LaVine. As Scotto has previously reported, Kings wing Kevin Huerter has fans within Chicago’s front office, so if the two teams did explore a trade involving LaVine, it seems safe to assume Huerter would be involved.

In other Bulls news, Chicago is interested in re-signing center Andre Drummond, league sources tell Scotto. The big man will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after spending the past two seasons backing up Nikola Vucevic.

Scotto also states that – prior to last week’s Alex Caruso/Josh Giddey swap – there was a belief around the league that the Bulls and Thunder would consider a possible sign-and-trade deal involving Patrick Williams. It’s unclear if that idea is off the table now or if the two clubs will look into making a second offseason trade.

Finally, Scotto reports that before they struck deals to add Wes Unseld Jr. and Dan Craig to Billy Donovan‘s coaching staff, the Bulls also reached out and talked to former head coaches Nate McMillan and Dwane Casey.

Here are a few more items of interest from around the Central:

  • The Pistons – along with the Magic – were expected to be in the mix for Monk before he reached an agreement to return to Sacramento, according to Scotto, who says Detroit will continue to explore the trade and free agent markets for shooting help this offseason.
  • Elsewhere on the Pistons front, Scotto writes that a number of executives around the NBA believe Detroit will come to terms on a maximum-salary rookie scale extension for former No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham.
  • The Bucks, still very much in win-now mode, are open to the idea of trading the No. 23 pick in the draft, league sources tell Scotto. Executives with rival teams also get the sense that Milwaukee would be willing to move Bobby Portis and/or Pat Connaughton in order to upgrade the roster, though Scotto notes that both players have come up in trade talks in the past and nothing has come of it to this point.
  • James Borrego was considered the frontrunner for the Cavaliers‘ head coaching job last week before the front office met with team owner Dan Gilbert, per Shams Charania, Joe Vardon, and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. After that meeting between management and Gilbert, Kenny Atkinson‘s candidacy “gained considerable momentum,” The Athletic’s trio adds. Assistant coaches Jordan Ott and Trevor Hendry, who worked with Atkinson in Brooklyn, are viewed as potential additions to his new staff in Cleveland, notes Scotto.

Stein’s Latest: Hardaway, LaVine, Lakers, Cavs, Pistons, Spurs

Mavericks forward Tim Hardaway Jr. is a prime trade candidate to watch, according to Marc Stein, who says in his latest Substack article that Dallas is more likely than ever to find a deal this offseason involving Hardaway, who has been on the trade block during previous transaction windows. He’s entering the final season of his four-year contract and his cap hit is declining to $16.2MM, which should make him a little easier to move than he has been in the past.

Stein suggests that finding a deal involving Hardaway is a “key element” of the Mavs’ plans to re-sign Derrick Jones. The implication there is that moving off of Hardaway’s contract could free up the non-taxpayer mid-level exception for Jones, allowing Dallas to sign him for up to $12.9MM instead of up to $5.2MM (the amount of the taxpayer MLE).

It’s unclear if that means the Mavs will look to offload Hardaway without taking back any salary in return, or if they hope to take back a lesser-paid player in any deal.

Here’s more from Stein’s latest round-up of rumors from across the NBA:

  • While the Jazz and Sixers have both been linked to Zach LaVine as of late, Stein hears from league sources that Philadelphia has minimal interest in the Bulls guard and says he’s been “advised to dismiss” Utah’s reported interest as well.
  • The Lakers hope to hire two former head coaches as assistants on J.J. Redick‘s staff. Scott Brooks has been reported as one Lakers target, and Stein suggests James Borrego might be another, though he says the Pelicans are determined to keep Borrego on Willie Green‘s staff if he doesn’t get a head coaching job. The Celtics are likewise hoping to fend off interest from the Lakers and any other rivals for assistant Sam Cassell, with Charles Lee and Jeff Van Gundy having already been hired for new jobs this spring.
  • Speaking of Borrego, both he and Kenny Atkinson continue to be top candidates for the Cavaliers‘ head coaching vacancy, which Stein expects to be filled soon. Depending on who gets that job, either Borrego or Atkinson (or both, if Cleveland chooses another candidate, such as Micah Nori) are expected to be in the mix for the Pistons‘ head coaching position, according to Stein, who adds that Detroit’s search could extend into July.
  • According to Stein, rumblings about the possibility of the Spurs making a trade with the Hawks to move up from No. 4 to No. 1 haven’t gone away. The wording of this item from Stein makes it sound as if Alexandre Sarr might be the target in that scenario, but that seems unlikely, given that Sarr doesn’t look like a great fit next to the French big man already on San Antonio’s roster (Victor Wembanyama).

Eastern Notes: Cavs, Atkinson, Bulls, Sixers, Knicks, Hawks

After previously reporting that James Borrego was viewed as the frontrunner for the Cavaliers‘ head coaching job, Marc Stein says (via Twitter) he heard multiple times on Friday that Kenny Atkinson‘s candidacy for the job is “gaining steam.”

Atkinson was identified early in the Cavs’ search process as the potential frontrunner, but multiple reporters – including Stein and Chris Fedor of – have said in recent weeks that Borrego appeared to have the edge. Those two former head coaches have been linked to the job most frequently and it certainly seems like one of them will end up being hired, but that’s not a lock. According to Stein, Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori also remains in the mix for Cleveland.

If the Cavaliers wrap up their search and make a decision soon, it will have an impact on their division rivals in Detroit. Both Borrego and Nori are expected to interview for the Pistons‘ head coaching vacancy.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bullsacquisition of Josh Giddey signals that the team isn’t sold on the idea of a Lonzo Ball comeback, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, who adds that director of player development and shooting coach Peter Patton has an “important project on his hands” in Chicago’s new lead guard, a career 31.0% three-point shooter. In his own look at the trade, Jon Greenberg of The Athletic contends that it’s “inexcusable” for the Bulls to make this kind of deal without acquiring any draft picks.
  • USC guard Isaiah Collier visited the Sixers this week for a pre-draft workout, a source tells Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports (Twitter link). Once considered a possible top pick in this year’s draft, Collier has slipped to No. 23 on ESPN’s big board, so he could be available for Philadelphia at No. 16.
  • Yongxi Cui (China), David Jones (Memphis), Spencer Jones (Stanford), Ajay Mitchell (UCSB), and Antonio Reeves (Kentucky) were among the players to work out for the Knicks on Friday, tweets Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Bondy adds (via Twitter) that Arizona’s Keshad Johnson worked out for New York earlier this month.
  • The Hawks are hiring Ben Peterson away from the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and will make him their VP of player health and performance, sources tell Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Pelissero’s report on Peterson, who was said to be “well-regarded” in San Francisco, has been confirmed by Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).

Eastern Notes: Cavaliers, Nets, Bulls, Dawkins

In a conversation this week on the HoopsHype podcast, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and Chris Fedor of reiterated several points that they and other reporters have made in recent weeks, telling listeners that there’s optimism in Cleveland about a Donovan Mitchell extension, the Cavaliers aren’t looking to trade any of their four core players, and James Borrego and Kenny Atkinson look like the top candidates for the Cavs’ head coaching job.

Addressing Mitchell’s contract situation, Scotto notes that the star guard might sign a shorter-term maximum-salary contract that would set him up to get his next deal in 2027 once he has 10 years of NBA service under his belt and qualifies for a maximum salary worth 35% of the cap instead of 30%.

Mitchell isn’t the only Cavalier who could sign a big-money extension this offseason. Within a discussion about a potential rookie scale extension for Evan Mobley, Fedor predicts that the Cavs will put a maximum-salary offer on the table for the big man.

“He hasn’t played to that (max) level yet, but there’s so much belief in Evan as a person and him as a player inside this organization,” Fedor said. “… They understand that he’s already one of the elite defensive players in the NBA. That’s already where he’s at, and they believe he can get to a point offensively where he becomes the unicorn type of player they’ve talked about him being since he came into the NBA. I don’t think the Cavaliers are going to hesitate to offer him the max extension.”

Even if Mitchell and Mobley are extended, the Cavaliers would likely have to be “blown away” to consider moving Darius Garland or Jarrett Allen, according to Fedor. While the Pelicans have been widely viewed as a potential trade partner Cleveland, Scotto says he doesn’t get the sense Cleveland is all that excited about the idea of trading for Brandon Ingram and then having to sign him to a lucrative new contract.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Despite not having any picks in the 2024 draft and no cap room this offseason, the Nets have several important decisions to make, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (subscription required), who examines Nic Claxton‘s free agency, Mikal Bridges‘ future, and the possibility of trading into the draft. According to Lewis, the Nets aren’t interested in acquiring a draft pick just to have one, but they figure to monitor specific targets and prepare to pounce if any of those targets drop past their expected draft range.
  • Given how many different directions the Bulls‘ offseason could take, there’s no shortage of prospects who might make sense for the team with the No. 11 pick in the draft, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Cowley examines several of those options, including Ron Holland, Cody Williams, and Dalton Knecht. He also mentions center Donovan Clingan, citing a source who says the Bulls have discussed the possibility of trading up from No. 11.
  • Wizards general manager Will Dawkins spoke to Marc J. Spears of Andscape about being accused of shoplifting at a Saks Fifth Avenue in Miami last fall. Dawkins was briefly detained by a security guard and local police before they realized they had the wrong person. Saks issued a formal apology to Dawkins on Thursday.