We heard that there was at least one candidate for the Cavaliers head coaching position that was not being discussed. Well, he may be the one being discussed after today. Several reports, including one from The Plain Dealer’s Mary Schmitt Boyer, indicate that the Cavaliers may be looking overseas for their next head coach.
An NBA source said Blatt is one of a number of coaches the Cavs have spoken to, but that no interview has been scheduled. At least part of the reason is that Blatt’s team is still playing in Israel. He was in the United States this week because his father died in Phoenix. He also has spoken to Golden State and Minnesota about assistant coaching positions. It’s possible Minnesota coach Flip Saunders is looking at Blatt as his eventual successor.
Blatt, 55, is one of the most respected European coaches around the continent. After playing college ball at Princeton and a long playing career overseas, he has coached in Israel, Italy, and Russia. His Maccabi Tel Aviv team won the Euroleague this past season and is still currently playing. He coached the Russians to a bronze medal in the 2012 Summer Games. I have my concerns about the adjustment that will be required to transition from European basketball to the NBA, but to be fair, it’s not much different than the drastic difference between the college and pro games in the States.
Also, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the Cavaliers will bring in Alvin Gentry for a second interview on Monday to meet with team owner Dan Gilbert. Gentry is currently an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers, and he interviewed for the Utah Jazz job that was given to Missouri coach Quin Snyder this afternoon. While he has plenty of head coaching experience, it’s entirely unimpressive. In parts of 12 seasons as a head coach, Gentry has just one great year, the 54-win Suns squad of 2009-10 that made the Western Conference Finals. Gentry, however, has made the playoffs just once outside of that season in four stops (Miami ’94-95, Detroit ’97-00, Clippers ’00-03, Phoenix ’08-13) with an overall record of 335-370 and a 12-9 record in the playoffs. Gentry has 8 losing seasons out of 12 and has not won more than 40 games in any season but the 2009-10 campaign. The 59-year-old Alvin Gentry would be a nightmarish recycled hire in this writer’s humble opinion. If we’re going for an older retread candidate, George Karl and Lionel Hollins are infinitely better options.
The Cavaliers have reportedly interviewed five candidates officially. They are former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin, Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue, former Bulls and Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro, and Gentry.
(Photo: Petras Malukas/Getty Images)