Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers have hired Kenny Atkinson as their coach, signing the former Golden State Warriors assistant to a five-year contract, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Atkinson, who previously served as coach of the Brooklyn Nets from 2016-20, spent the past three seasons in Golden State as a top assistant under Steve Kerr. He is known for running his pick-and-roll heavy offense and ability to develop young players.

Cleveland's coaching search began on May 24 when the Cavaliers fired J.B. Bickerstaff. It was immediately centered around two coaches: Atkinson and former Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego. It had been widely reported that Borrego, not Atkinson, was favored to land the job, but Atkinson's candidacy gained steam later in the process.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who had taken a step back from active leadership with the team in recent years, was reportedly heavily involved in the decision to hire Atkinson. The former Nets coach received an important endorsement from Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, according to Marc Stein. Gilbert is a Michigan State alumnus who tried to hire Izzo himself in 2010, so his word holds quite a bit of sway in Cleveland.

Two key Cavs have experience playing for Atkinson in Brooklyn as both Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert were drafted by the Nets during Atkinson's tenure. Allen was infamously a point of contention when Atkinson lost the Nets job as star free agent signings Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving reportedly wanted Brooklyn to start DeAndre Jordan over him. Jordan had passed his prime by that point, and Allen has blossomed into an All-Star in Cleveland, so Atkinson has since been proven right on that front.

Cleveland's roster is in a state of flux at the moment. While the Cavaliers are reportedly confident that he will sign a max contract extension, Donovan Mitchell can become a free agent in 2025 and could therefore be a trade consideration. If Mitchell does get extended, point guard Darius Garland will reportedly explore trade possibilities with his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Meanwhile, the fit between Allen and Evan Mobley continues to cause problems on offense, and Mobley's strong performance at center in the playoffs may make Allen expendable as the team looks for an impact wing.

Finding a coach was the first domino for the Cavaliers. There is still a lot of work to be done. Now, at least, Cleveland knows who will be leading its roster even if it doesn't quite yet know who will be playing on it.