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Report: Adrian Griffin ‘a top candidate’ to fill Cavaliers coaching vacancy

May 13, 2014, 10:17 AM EDT

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In danger of losing their small forward in free agency, the Cavaliers fired their coach and are seeking a replacement who appeases their top player.

Haven’t we been here before?

This, the stakes are a little lower. Luol Deng (not LeBron James) is the free agent small forward, and Kyrie Irving (not LeBron) is Cleveland’s reportedly disgruntled top player. And the fired coach, well, that’s still Mike Brown.

But it’s still on new Cavaliers general manager David Griffin to find a coach to lead Cleveland into the playoffs for the first time since LeBron left. Maybe that’s someone who coached Deng in Chicago.

Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amico of USA TODAY:

According to a person close to the situation, Chicago Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin has emerged as a top candidate for the job.

An NBA insider, speaking with Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN, described Adrian Griffin as “a player-friendly Tom Thibodeau.” That’s a pretty great label to have, and if the Cavaliers find it accurate, they should Griffin on the spot.

Of course, there’s a long history of assistant coaches being described as player friendly and struggling to relate to players as a head coach. Often, an assistant’s role is to play good cop, and not everyone can make the transition to being the stricter head coach.

I tend to believe Griffin – who played for the Celtics, Mavericks, Rockets, Bulls and SuperSonics during his nine-year career – could, but that belief might not be enough to get him a job this offseason.

With established coaches like Stan Van Gundy, Lionel Hollins, George Karl and Mark Jackson available, it’s a buyers’ market. Unless the Cavaliers really like Griffin and/or want to save money by hiring a lesser-known candidate – either of which is a reasonable position – it might make sense to pluck a coach with a proven track record of success.

Griffin is just 39. With the Cavaliers now or elsewhere later, he’ll get a head-coaching job at some point.

  1. campcouch - May 13, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Luol Deng…shrug,Adrian Griffin…why.

    • sportsfan18 - May 13, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Why you ask?

      When your culture is a LOSING culture like Cleveland’s… you want and try to get players and coaches who come from a WINNING culture…

      That’s why.

      • don444 - May 16, 2014 at 4:56 AM

        Nice in theory I suppose, but no Cavs fan is going to get giddy over 39-year-old former role player Adrian Griffin as he’s miscast in the role of organizational savior (forget the delusional pining away for the return of LeBron James to serve in that capacity in Cleveland until he’s at least north of 35 and a shadow of the player he remains today).

  2. money2long - May 13, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Any spurs player can probably step in and coach

  3. asimonetti88 - May 13, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    Griffin was actually a solid player and I can see why he would transition well to being a coach. If you’re the Cavs, you gotta go with the unproven over some recycled head coach in my opinion.

    • duhwighthoward - May 13, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      “Griffin was actually a solid player” Are you referring to the season he average 1 pt or 2 pts a game?

      • asimonetti88 - May 13, 2014 at 10:51 AM

        He was a good defender and role player off the bench for about 15-20 MPG. Just because he wasn’t a volume scorer doesn’t mean he couldn’t play.

      • fanofthegame79 - May 13, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        Hey, he doubled he productivity at one point (1 point to 2 points per game), that deserves a shout-out!

      • asimonetti88 - May 13, 2014 at 11:41 AM

        I forgot, if you aren’t scoring 20 PPG you’re garbage. Being a role player off the bench for almost 10 years is just something to forget.

  4. duhwighthoward - May 13, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Wow, two posts on fat Celtics in 24 hours!

  5. sportsnut101 - May 13, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Don’t do it hire mark Jackson

  6. lilyen311 - May 13, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    Please take anything Cavalier off your radar. Just ignore us. We like it better.

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