Two Names Already Emerge as J.B. Bickerstaff Replacement Targets

Two candidates have emerged to replace J.B. Bickerstaff as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Two candidates have emerged as leading candidates to replace J.B. Bickerstaff
Two candidates have emerged as leading candidates to replace J.B. Bickerstaff / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Changes are coming for the Cleveland Cavaliers as the organization dismissed head coach J.B. Bickerstaff on Thursday. Dan Gilbert is reportedly going to be heavily involved moving forward and two targets have already emerged for the vacant position.

Many questions remain about the Cavaliers' roster. The organization has to make a decision on Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. Can the duo co-exist or does Cleveland need to move on from one of them to maximize the other's potential?

Evan Mobley is a foundational building block, but the Cavaliers' future largely depends on the identity the new coach plans to embrace.

Kenny Atkinson and James Borrego Emerge as Cavaliers' Coaching Candidates

In the quick aftermath following the report of Bickerstaff's firing, Shams Charania of The Athletic identified two candidates for the vacant position: Kenny Atkinson and James Borrego.

Atkinson is currently an assistant with the Golden State Warriors but should be familiar. He was the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets from 2016-2020, going 118-170 in his tenure. Borrego is currently with the New Orleans Pelicans, though is considered one of the top candidates on the market.

Borrego is reportedly a candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers as well. He served as the interim head coach of the Orlando Magic in 2015 and was the Hornets' coach from 2018-2022. During his time with Charlotte, Borrego compiled a 138-163 record.

Considering the Hornets' overall struggles, it's an impressive mark. We don't yet know which candidate is considered the favorite, though the quick nature of Charania's report indicates Atkinson and Borrego are the leading candidates.

After making the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, the future is bright. There is an obvious gap between the Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics, but Cleveland is closer than they were a year ago. If the organization nails this hiring, they could compete for a Finals appearance sooner than later.

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