Bryant joining Cavaliers as associate head coach

CLEVELAND — New York Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant is joining new Cleveland coach Kenny Atkinson’s staff, a person familiar with the hiring told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Bryant, who interviewed for the Cavaliers’ opening before Atkinson was hired, will be an associate head coach, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the addition.

Bryant will be reunited in Cleveland with Cavs All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell They spent several years working together in Utah, and Mitchell has often credited the 29-year-old Bryant with making him a better player.

Mitchell agreed this week to a three-year, $150.3 million contract extension with the Cavs. His commitment came just days after Cleveland hired Atkinson, the former Brooklyn coach who spent the past three seasons as an assistant with Golden State.

Bryant spent six seasons with the Jazz. He went to New York in 2020, when it appeared Mitchell might be headed to the Knicks in a trade before the Cavs pulled off a blockbuster deal to acquire the 27-year-old.

Atkinson is still completing his staff but has already added former Lakers assistant Jordan Ott and former NBA player DeMarre Carroll. Ott is coaching Cleveland’s Summer League team in Las Vegas.

ESPN previously reported Bryant’s hiring by the Cavs.

Cleveland fired coach J.B. Bickerstaff after being eliminated in the playoffs.