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The Cavaliers seemingly intend to speak with Denver Nuggets assistant coach Jordi Fernandez about their head-coaching vacancy.
Fernandez spent six seasons with the Cavs, including two as the head coach of the Canton Charge, the Cavs’ affiliate in the G-League. He joined Michael Malone’s staff with the Nuggets in 2016.
“We worked together in Cleveland,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone told Amico Hoops. “His first year with the Cavaliers was my last.”
Malone went on to praise Fernandez’s background in player development.
“He’s a very good teacher; he relates especially well to young players,” Malone said. “To see how much he’s grown since our year together in Cleveland is amazing.”
The Nuggets are tied with the San Antonio Spurs, 3-all, in their Western Conference first-round series, with Game 7 slated for Saturday night. So the Cavs will likely have to wait to talk to Fernandez.
Along with Fernandez, the Cavs’ early list of candidates includes Dallas Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley, Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard, Portland Trail Blazers assistants Nate Tibbetts and David Vanterpool, Utah Jazz asisstant Alex Jensen and former Memphis Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
Fernandez, 36, is a native of Spain and chased the game from Amsterdam to Oklahoma and back to Norway in his early 20s. He made his way to Impact and Vegas about a decade ago.
He has always said his goal is to become an NBA head coach.
“I don’t know how I’m going to do it,” Fernandez once told the Canton Repository. “But I’ll figure it out.”
The job in Denver moves him closer to that possibility.
“He’s a great person with a terrific work ethic,” Malone said. “He fits the culture we’re trying to create throughout the entire organization.”