Cavs add coaching candidates, get permission to speak with assistants Bryant, Quinn, AP source says

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland added two more candidates to its coaching search Friday, receiving permission to interview New York Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant and Miami Heat assistant Chris Quinn, a person familiar with the process told The Associated Press.

Earlier this week, the Cavs began looking for J.B. Bickerstaff's successor by getting clearance to speak with Golden State’s Kenny Atkinson and New Orleans’ James Borrego.

Bickerstaff was fired one week after Cleveland was knocked out in the second round of the NBA playoffs by Boston. The Cavs believe they have their pieces to compete for a championship and want a new voice.

The Cavs will further broaden their list of prospective candidates, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not commenting during its first search for a coach in five years.

Cleveland and the Los Angeles Lakers are the only teams with coaching vacancies at the moment.

Bryant's name has been linked for some time to the Cavs because of his background with Donovan Mitchell. The All-Star guard worked with Bryant in Utah and has credited him with helping him develop as a player.

Mitchell can sign a long-term extension with Cleveland this summer, and Bryant's hiring could seal the deal.

Quinn, who is highly regarded in Miami, has been a candidate for several jobs in recent years. The Heat agreed to terms with assistant coach Caron Butler on a four-year deal earlier this week, and have been talking with Quinn and fellow assistant Malik Allen on new contracts as well.

Bickerstaff's dismissal was somewhat shocking since he had guided the Cavs through the early stages of a rebuild and had made improvement each season.

He was forced to juggle his lineup almost this entire season due to injuries. The Cavs played the series against the Celtics without center Jarrett Allen because of a broken rib, while Mitchell sat out Cleveland's final two games with a strained calf.

Bickerstaff took over for John Beilein midway through the 2019 season and went 170-159 in the regular season. He got the Cavs back to the playoffs for the first time since 2018 last season, but a first-round exit against the Knicks didn't help his resume.