Latest Buzz on Cleveland Cavaliers' Head Coaching Search

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterJune 16, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  Head coach David Blatt of Russia reacts in the second half while taking on Lithuania during the Men's Basketball quaterfinal game on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 8, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers' search for a head coach has taken them all over the globe and is yet to come to an end.

It has now been over a month since Mike Brown was (thankfully) fired in his second go-around, and general manager David Griffin is still meeting with, calling and interviewing potential candidates.

While Griffin is yet to make a final decision, we seem to be down to a few serious contenders for the job.

Here's the latest on the Cavaliers' extensive coaching search.

Politely Declined

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Cleveland went hard in pursuing the nation's best recruiters, approaching many top college coaches for a shot at the pros.

The headliner of this group was Kentucky's John Calipari. ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Cavs wanted Calipari for team president and coach—and were offering to pay him handsomely. Stein said that a deal could have reached an unheard of 10 years and $80 million. Calipari reportedly considered such an offer but chose to re-up with the Wildcats for seven years and $52.5 million instead.

The Cavaliers were also interested in Michigan State's Tom Izzo, UConn's Kevin Ollie and Florida's Billy Donovan. All three also chose to stay at their respective schools.

Inquired About, No Interview

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 01:  Head coach Mark Jackson of the Golden State Warriors questions a call during their game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 1, 2014
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After being let go by the Golden State Warriors following their playoff loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Mark Jackson remains one of the biggest names on the free-agent coaching market.

According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, Jackson talked to Griffin on the phone about the position, although no formal interview was set up.

Chris Haynes of Comcast SportsNet reports that Cleveland reached out to Indiana Pacers' assistant coach Nate McMillan, the former Seattle Sonics and Portland Trail Blazers head man. Haynes claims a call was made simply to gauge McMillan's interest level.

On the other end, former Cavs' and longtime NBA head coach George Karl seems to be interested in a Cleveland reunion.

Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reports hearing that Karl would indeed like the job if the Cavaliers would offer it. So far, the feeling doesn't appear to be mutual.

Soon to Interview

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 10:  Head coach David Blatt of Russia calls out while taking on Spain during the Men's Basketball semifinal match on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the North Greenwich Arena on August 10, 2012 in London, England.  (Pho
Lars Baron/Getty Images

The latest coaching name to be thrown into the ring is that of David Blatt, who recently resigned from the Israeli Super League's Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Probably the most intriguing name on the list, Blatt would bring a fiery passion along with a creative offensive mind. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that Blatt will meet with the team in Cleveland on Wednesday, June 18.

Interviewed, But Not Likely

The Cavaliers originally brought in five candidates for interviews—a mix of past head coaches and current assistants.

Vinny Del Negro, former head coach of the Chicago Bulls and the Clippers, had a two-day interview with the team on May 31 and June 1, according to Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Unlike some others, Del Negro was not asked back for a second interview.

A successful, veteran coach with the Memphis Grizzlies, Lionel Hollins also met with Griffin. Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the two are expected to meet a second time even though Hollins wasn't as praised as others in their original interview.

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 27:  Head coach Lionel Hollins of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts in the first half while taking on the San Antonio Spurs during Game Four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the FedExForum on May 27, 2013 in Memphi
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin seemed like an early favorite for the position, a move that might help convince free agent Luol Deng to re-sign with the team. While his initial interview reportedly went well, other candidates appear to have leapfrogged him in the race.

Legendary Cavaliers guard Mark Price was the most recent interview conducted by Cleveland, meeting with Griffin on June 10 (via the Cleveland Plain Dealer). While Price doesn't have any experience as a head coach, he's well-thought-of as a shooting coach and developer of young players.

Both traits would fit in well with the Cavs. So far, Price has not been asked back for a second interview.

Current Favorites for Job

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18: Doc Rivers (C) of the Los Angeles Clippers sits with (L-R) assistant coach Kevin Eastman, Alvin Gentry, Tyronn Lue, and head athletic trainer Jasen Powell during their game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center
Evan Gole/Getty Images

Cleveland has met with Clippers assistants Alvin Gentry and Tyronn Lue for a second time, notes the Associated Press (h/t

Both are considered to have strong offensive minds and could help bring the Cavaliers' offense back to life after a year under Brown.

Lue reportedly left a strong impression on the team following his initial interview (via Adrian Wojnariowski of Yahoo Sports), and Gentry coached the Phoenix Suns while Griffin was a member of the team's front office.

With the NBA draft drawing ever closer, Cleveland should hopefully be wrapping up its search soon.

While names like Lue and Gentry may top the list for now, don't be surprised if newcomers like Price or Blatt ultimately come away with the job.


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