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New York Knicks assistant cleared for Cavs interview

The New York Knicks’ top assistant coach is going on tour.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant will interview for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coaching spot, the latest name to be added to the search, overshadowed by the uncertainty surrounding Donovan Mitchell’s future.

Bryant, who has been with the Knicks since the arrival of head coach Tom Thibodeau in 2020, is one of the most intriguing names in the search: the former Utah Utes sharpshooter was an assistant with the NBA’s Utah Jazz during Mitchell’s first professional seasons and could fill in useful as the Cavs continue to look for ways to retain the five-time All-Star and New York State native long-term.

March 25, 2015;  Salt Lake City, UT, USA;  Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (right) talks with Utah Jazz assistant coach Johnnie Bryant before the game at EnergySolutions Arena.  Mandatory credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

March 25, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (right) talks with Utah Jazz assistant coach Johnnie Bryant before the game at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports / Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland vacated its top coaching spot shortly after the Eastern Conference semifinals, when J.B. Bickerstaff was retired after five seasons. The Cavs have earned back-to-back playoff berths without LeBron James since 1992-96, but not advancing past the second round is undoubtedly disappointing as they traded away most of their future to land Mitchell’s services. Those results include a first-round elimination by the Knicks last season.

Other Cavalier candidates mentioned by Wojnarowski included former Brooklyn Nets boss Kenny Atkinson (now an assistant at Golden State), New Orleans associate head coach James Borrego and Miami assistant Chris Quinn.

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