May 22, 2014, 10:46 PM EDT
The Cavaliers just finished a season that was bad enough to land them in the NBA’s Draft Lottery, and good fortune ended up smiling upon them for the second straight year as they came away with the number one overall pick once again.
But none of that was by design.
Cleveland acquired players via both trade and free agency in hopes of making a run at the playoffs in a watered-down Eastern Conference, it’s just that none of those moves ended up panning out. Before the season it was Earl Clark, Jarrett jack and Andrew Bynum, and in the middle of the campaign it was Luol Deng. But Mike brown in his second stint as Cavs head coach couldn’t make the pieces fit, and he’s now gone again as a result.
Cavaliers GM David Griffin said after winning the Draft Lottery that owning the top pick wouldn’t affect his coaching search, although he did admit it might help make his team more attractive to potential candidates. The team seems to have one in mind who might be at the top of that list, based on a prior relationship.
The Cavaliers have asked permission to speak with Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Alvin Gentry, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on Thursday. One source with knowledge of the coaching search wouldn’t confirm the report, but said the Cavs have not interviewed any candidates yet.
Gentry, 59, is considered a leading candidate for the Cavs job because of his Phoenix ties to General Manager David Griffin. He has a 335-370 record in parts of 12 seasons as a head coach with the Phoenix Suns, Clippers and Detroit Pistons. He also served as interim coach of the Miami Heat.
Gentry is an offensive-minded coach who Doc Rivers brought to Los Angeles as his associate head coach in order to help the spacing of the Clippers offense. It worked, too — L.A. finished number one in the league in offensive efficiency, with a rating of 109.4 points per 100 possessions.
Cleveland has talent, and by virtue of owning the top pick in the draft, has assets. A good, veteran coach should be able to make it work there fairly quickly, at least in terms of seeing some tangible results. Gentry’s overall experience, along with his relationship with the man running the front office would appear to make him a fine choice for the job.
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