Looking at some potential Cavs coaching candidates

Could Lionel Hollins be a candidate for the now-vacant Cavaliers head coach position? He is among many names with experience -- and some without - who could be connected to the club. 

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Who will be the next coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Well, here’s what general manager David Griffin had to say on the matter:

"I don’t intend to give regular updates on where this process sits."

That’s a wise move by the Cavs’ new man in charge. What good comes from throwing around a bunch of names in the press? Usually, the answer is nothing.

Griffin did concede that the Cavs do not have a frontrunner at the moment. He added that the search began Monday, the same day the team fired Mike Brown.

Cavs fire Brown, hire Griffin as GM

"We did begin the process of analyzing potential names, analyzing potential fits," Griffin said.

Again, there’s no telling (yet) who may be on that list. So what follows are nothing more than names — or more precisely, nothing more than guesses. Let’s take a look.


D’Antoni just recently resigned following a rough go of it with the Lakers. But his teams raced to plenty of (regular-season) success during his stint with the Steve Nash-led Suns, playing a fun-loving brand of basketball that grabbed the NBA’s attention. D’Antoni hasn’t possessed a point guard like Nash in his prime, or anything close, since then. Kyrie Irving can be as good as Nash in his prime in the right system. Griffin worked in the Suns’ front office for 17 years, including D’Antoni’s time as coach. But sources have said the two aren’t especially tight, and that D’Antoni-to-the-Cavs is a long shot.


Another former Suns coach whom Griffin supposedly respects, Gentry is another up-tempo guy who is often well-liked by his players. That counts for a lot. And a lot of people around the league will tell you Gentry is a bright basketball mind with a winning personality. He’s coached at least parts of 12 seasons in the league and compiled a 335-370 record.


He once led the Cavs to the playoffs after a 2-19 start. That was during the early 1980s. Since then, Karl has recorded a number of achievements with a number of different teams. That included being named NBA Coach of the Year after leading the Nuggets to a franchise-best 57 wins in 2012-13. The Nuggets responded by not re-signing him. Either way, Karl’s a good one. But at 63 with prior health issues, you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank.


Much like Karl, Hollins had great success last season, leading the Grizzlies to the Western Conference finals. Much like Karl, Hollins was basically told to go away right after. Hollins has already expressed interest in the Cavs job. But sources say he is drawing strong interest from at least two other teams. No matter, Hollins fits the description that Griffin gave for a potential hire — in that Hollins’ teams are almost always strong on both sides of the ball.


Known as a fantastic motivator during his two seasons with the Warriors, the former NBA point guard seems to be a favorite among fans. But given his issues with the Warriors’ front office, Jackson seems risky. That may be especially the case when you’re talking about a new regime like the Cavs. Still, the man can clearly coach. If the Cavs are interested, they’ll have plenty of competition. The Lakers are said to be high on Jackson, too.


He’s been a lifelong assistant (and was a former teammate of Larry Bird with the Celtics), but Sichting is considered a rising and respected voice by NBA GMs. He spent last season as an assistant under Jeff Hornacek with the surprising Suns.


The beloved former Cavs point guard was an assistant under first-year wonder Steve Clifford with the Bobcats. As far as we can tell, he has no ties to Griffin. But he sure does to the team.


He was the coach of the Canton Charge during the Byron Scott era, and by all accounts, Griffin respects Jensen and his work. Jensen spent this season as an assistant under ex-Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin.


He’s never coached at any level, yet Kerr is being heavily recruited by both the Knicks and Warriors. Kerr and Griffin are close, but this seems highly unlikely. At the same time, nothing is impossible in today’s NBA.

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