Photo: Brooklyn Nets /Twitter

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ coaching search has taken an unexpected turn, with Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson emerging as a strong contender for the position.

Despite initial favoritism towards New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego, reports indicate Atkinson’s rising prominence in coaching circles.

NBA insider Marc Stein highlighted Atkinson’s increasing traction in Cleveland’s coaching discussions.

“Heard multiple times today that Kenny Atkinson is gaining steam for Cleveland’s job,” Stein tweeted.

Initially, Borrego was widely regarded as the frontrunner, with other candidates like Minnesota’s Micah Nori also in contention.

Cleveland’s decision is poised to influence the Detroit Pistons’ coaching search, given their interest in Borrego, Nori, and other coaches.

Atkinson’s coaching credentials include a stint as head coach for the Brooklyn Nets from 2016 to 2020.

During his tenure, he garnered praise for player development and strategic acumen, despite the team’s rebuilding phase.

Known for his emphasis on player development and offensive schemes, Atkinson’s coaching style aligns with Cleveland’s vision for future growth.