The word “acting” has been removed from the title. David Griffin is in as the full-time General Manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Mike Brown is out as Cavs’ head coach. That means, for the second time in just over a year, the Cavs are looking for a new head coach. With that task at hand, 11 names to keep in mind as Griffin and the Cavs look for Brown’s replacement:
On the payroll:
Jim Boylan – an assistant on Mike Brown’s staff who also worked for the Cavs under Mike Fratello. Has had three stints as an assistant for Scott Skiles (see below) – in Phoenix, Chicago and Milwaukee – and served as interim head coach with the Bulls and Bucks after Skiles was fired. Also spent three seasons as an assistant at Michigan State, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s alma mater.
Igor Kokoskov – another Mike Brown assistant, and like Boylan, with ties to Griffin from Phoenix. He’s been an NBA assistant for 14 seasons, including five each with Detroit and Phoenix – two while Griffin was the Suns’ Senior Vice-President of Basketball Operations. He was the Suns unofficial “offensive coordinator.”
From the Valley of the Sun:
Mike D’Antoni – recently parted ways with the Los Angeles Lakers after two injury-filled, disappointing seasons. Wasn’t a big hit in four seasons with the Knicks. But sure won a lot of games in five seasons in Phoenix — 54 or more wins in four of the five seasons, all with Griffin working in the Suns front office. Native of West Virginia. His coaching style is well-known – loves up-tempo offense, allergic to defense.
Scott Skiles – another former Suns head coach – 2-1/2 seasons from 1999 to 2002. 13 seasons as NBA head coach — also head coach of the Bulls and Bucks. Removed from all three jobs during a season. Known as a tough-minded head coach who coaches both ends of the floor. Legend at Michigan State, Gilbert’s alma mater.
Alvin Gentry – yet another former Suns head coach. Went 54-28 in 2009-10, Griffin’s last season with Phoenix. After that, limited success in 2-1/2 more seasons with the Suns.
Steve Kerr – if by chance Kerr doesn’t end up with the Knicks or Warriors, could he end up in Cleveland? Not likely, but Kerr and Griffin spent successful time together with the Suns, from 2007-10, with Kerr as GM and Griffin his right-hand man. Griffin left Phoenix for Cleveland after Kerr left the Suns.
Alex Jensen – former head coach of the Cavs’ NBA D-League affiliate, the Canton Charge. Was D-League Coach of the Year in 2012-2013, his second and final season in Canton. Spent last season as an assistant with the Utah Jazz.
Mark Price – former Cavs great was an assistant with the Charlotte Bobcats last season. With the recent success of Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix and Mark Jackson in Golden State, extensive coaching experience may not be the prerequisite it used to be in the league.
Tyrone Corbin – former Cavs and Suns player who spent the last 3-1/2 seasons as head coach of the Utah Jazz.
What the hey:
Stan Van Gundy – very good coach who wants back into the league. Remember what Van Gundy’s Orlando Magic did to the Cavs in the 2008-09 Eastern Conference Finals? That alone should make him a candidate. Also in the discussion for the opening at Golden State.
Avery Johnson – former Mavericks and Nets head coach now putting his high, squeaky voice to work at ESPN. Went 67-15 with Dallas in 2006-07.