Chicago Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin has already emerged as "a top candidate" for the Cleveland Cavaliers head coaching job, according to USA Today. The Cavaliers fired Mike Brown on Monday afternoon, just one season into a five-year, $20 million contract.
Griffin has been an assistant under Tom Thibodeau in Chicago since 2010, and spent the previous two seasons under Scott Skiles in Milwaukee. He has long been seen as head-coaching material -- he interviewed with the Sixers and the Pistons last year for the jobs that eventually went to Brett Brown and Mo Cheeks, respectively. The 39-year-old played nine years in the NBA.
At the same time as it announced Brown's dismissal, Cleveland named David Griffin general manager, taking away his interim tag. He has ties to numerous available coaches.
Griffin's background as a longtime executive with the Phoenix Suns could certainly play a part in this latest Cavaliers coaching search, as some of his most respected former colleagues from those days - among them Mike D'Antoni (former Los Angeles Lakers coach), Alvin Gentry (a Clippers assistant), and Vinny Del Negro (former Clippers coach) - are all available. Former Suns general manager and TNT analyst Steve Kerr is in deep negotiations with the New York Knicks about their head coaching position and is known to be on the Golden State Warriors' radar as well for their vacancy, but it was immediately unclear if he would consider the Cleveland position or if he was being considered.
George Karl also recently said he'd be interested in working for the Cavaliers, and Mike Fratello still lives in Cleveland and is reportedly interested in returning to coaching. The Cavaliers could potentially offer a candidate the role of president and salary is "not an issue," according to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst.
Despite Cleveland's 33-49 record, it actually is a fairly attractive option for a free agent coach. The Cavaliers have several good young players, including a franchise player in Kyrie Irving. There was enough talent to make the playoffs last season, but either the pieces didn't fit or Brown couldn't work it out. If the front office can make a few moves this summer, things could look a lot different this time next year.