AP source: Cavs interviewing 4 assistants for coaching job
Tom Withers | The Associated Press
CLEVELAND — The Cavs’ coaching search has picked up speed.
Cleveland is meeting with four NBA assistants this weekend in Denver to try and fill its coaching vacancy, a person familiar with the team’s plans told The Associated Press.
The Cavaliers met Friday night with Denver assistant Jordi Fernandez and interviewed Orlando’s Steve Hetzel on Saturday, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
The person says the team also has meetings scheduled with Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr. and Portland’s David Vanterpool.
The Cavs would still like to meet with Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts, the person said.
Fernandez is believed to be a front-runner for the job because of his previous connections with Cleveland. The 36-year-old He started his coaching career with the Cavaliers in 2009. He has experience in player development and he’s the kind of young coach who could mesh easily with t a young team.
Hetzel also has worked for the Cavs, first as the team’s video coordinator and then coach of the G League Canton Charge. Prior to his time with Cleveland, Hetzel was a developmental coach with Detroit.
He was an assistant for four seasons in Charlotte under Steve Clifford before joining him with the Magic.
Unseld, whose father is a Hall of Fame player, is Denver coach Michael Malone’s top assistant. He’s been with the Nuggets since 2015 and has been credited with the club’s major defensive improvement.
The 46-year-old Vanterpool has been with the Trail Blazers since 2012.
The Cavaliers have been looking for a coach since parting ways with Larry Drew after a 19-63 season, the club’s first after LeBron James left as a free agent. Drew took over six games into the season after Tyronn Lue was fired.
Cleveland’s taking a methodical approach with its coaching search, which is unlikely to wrap up before Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery. The team has already met with Dallas assistant coach Jamahl Mosely, Miami assistant Juwan Howard, former Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Utah assistant Alex Jensen and San Antonio’s Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka.