The Cavaliers’ coaching search is progressing — and aging.
For the second straight day, the team met with a Los Angeles Clippers assistant about its head coaching job.
Alvin Gentry is the third known candidate to interview this week with the Cavs, who this month fired Mike Brown for the second time. Cleveland executives met Tuesday with Chicago assistant Adrian Griffin, and the Cavs interviewed Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue on Thursday.
Both the 39-year-old Griffin and 37-year-old Lue represent the new breed of NBA coaches: young, former players who are highly regarded but lack head-coaching experience.
On Saturday, the Cavs are to meet with former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. Like Gentry, the 60-year-old Hollins has an extensive head coaching resume and now the Cavs must decide whether to go with an unproven candidate or one who has been through the grind. Gentry, 59, could be considered a favorite because of his background with new Cavs general manager David Griffin. They worked together in Phoenix and have remained close. Griffin has said he wants to find a coach who is more offensive-minded than Brown, who improved Cleveland substantially last season but failed to develop the team’s offense.
Gentry is also reportedly a candidate for the Lakers’ opening.
It’s unclear if David Griffin will expand his search to find Cleveland’s third coach in three years. The Cavs initially dipped into the college ranks to gauge interest in high-profile coaches like Kentucky’s John Calipari and Florida’s Billy Donovan, and they may circle back if they’re not sold on any of the four candidates brought in this week.
Gentry went 335-370 during stints with Miami, the Clippers, Detroit and Suns. He spent last season — along with Lue — on Doc Rivers’ staff.
Hollins guided Memphis to a 56-26 record in 2012-13, but the club decided not to renew his contract despite him leading the Grizzlies to the Western Conference finals for the first time. He won an NBA title as a player with Portland in 1977 and had been with the Memphis franchise since 1999, when the team was in Vancouver and he became interim coach after Brian Hill was fired.
Hollins is 214-201 overall and 18-17 in the playoffs. His departure in Memphis has been followed with upheaval in the front office.
David Griffin understands the Cavs’ job could be a tough sell, given the team has changed coaches in each of the past two offseasons. However, Cleveland’s opening recently became more appealing when the Cavs won the draft lottery for the second consecutive year and will have the No. 1 overall pick for the third time in four years.
The Cavs have a young, talented roster and salary-cap space. And owner Dan Gilbert is determined to move his club back among the league’s elite.
He just needs someone to lead it — young or old.