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You may not know Jamahl Mosley, but he knows all about the Cavaliers.
That is why you are likely to hear more about Mosley. It’s also why he is considered a serious candidate to replace former Cavs coach Larry Drew.
Mosley is currently an assistant under Rick Carlisle with the Dallas Mavericks. He has served in that role since 2014.
One of the things the Cavs have with Mosley is common ground. They have a head-coaching vacancy and he really wants a head-coaching job.
“My coaching philosophy is more about relationships,” Mosley said on the NBA Coaches Association website. “Those relationships are based on the feel you have for your team, who’s on your roster. It’s about hard work, being dedicated to the fundamentals.”
Before joining the Mavericks, Mosley assisted Byron Scott with the Cavs (2010-13), then spent another year in Cleveland under Mike Brown (2013-14).
So Mosley was in Cleveland between the two LeBron James eras. Since the Cavs no longer have James again, Mosley could be the ideal candidate.
With the Mavericks, Mosley has held the role of defensive coordinator. He is widely regarded as a players’ coach and at 6-foot-8, he can stand eye-to-eye with many of them. He is said to be laid back enough to keep the peace in the locker room and good enough of a communicator to bring his X’s and O’s to life.
He has said his coaching philosophy is based on “defense first, more than anything.”
Mosley played college ball at Colorado from 1997-2001. While he never made it to the NBA, he did play professionally for four years — serving two in Australia, one in Spain and another in Korea. When it comes to basketball, Mosley has seen it all.
But he decided to give up playing after his mother passed away in 2004.
“That got me thinking,” he said. “I was overseas a lot, so I decided trying to be back near my family was the best thing for me. I decided to go to Denver. I had a friend there and after my mom passed away, he said, ‘Why don’t you just come stay with me and figure out what you want to do?'”
At that point, Mosley wasn’t sure.
“Did I still want to play, did I want to go into the business world? I didn’t know,” he said.
Mosley decided to take a stab at coaching, and landed a job with George Karl, then of the Denver Nuggets. He was still in playing shape, so his job was primarily to work out with the Nuggets’ younger guys.
“My passion for playing was no longer there, but my ability to help some of the young guys get better was,” Mosley said. “From there, George started to give me more responsibilities as a coach.”
This past year, he was part of a Mavs staff that helped groom rookie sensation Luka Doncic. Mosley has also been the head coach of the Mavericks’ summer-league team for the past several years.
“Jamahl is highly respected in the basketball world,” Carlisle said recently.
Meanwhile, the Cavs are undergoing a youth movement of their own and will have a top-six draft pick. General manager Koby Altman wants someone who can lead rookies and second- and third-year players, teaching them the intricacies of the pros while winning some games.
Mosley had paid his dues as an assistant, is clearly passionate about the profession and seems to enjoy the development aspect of the job. All of that and more are reasons why the Cavs seem to really like him and may decide to give him a shot.