Vecsey: Cavaliers interested in Pitino

Former Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who also coached the Celtics and Knicks, is looking to return to the NBA and the Cavaliers are reportedly interested.

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ search for their next head coach has been said to include several current NBA assistant coaches.

However, according to one veteran NBA insider, that search includes a veteran of the coaching wars.

Peter Vecsey of Patreon reports Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and longtime coach Rick Pitino have spoken about the Cavaliers’ vacant head-coaching position, which opened when the team and Larry Drew agreed to part ways the day after the regular season ended.

Pitino, who coached Greek team Panathinaikos to the Greek Cup Championship, was the head coach of the Knicks for two seasons (1987-88 and 1988-89) and the Boston Celtics for 50 games in 1998-99, the full 1999-2000 season and for 34 games in 2000-01.

He compiled a 192-220 in a total of five-and-a-half NBA seasons. Pitino will turn 67 in September.

Pitino’s on-court success at Providence, Kentucky and Louisville is without question. However, he was fired by Louisville after an FBI probe. Pitino’s teams went to seven Final Fours, winning a pair of national championships.

Gilbert is known for his affinity for college coaches. Before David Blatt was hired in 2014, Billy Donovan of Florida (now of the Oklahoma City Thunder), Tom Izzo of Michigan State and John Calipari of Kentucky were all linked to the Cavaliers.

Pitino told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN in October 2018 he’s interested in returning to the NBA.

“After his firing following an FBI probe at Louisville, Rick Pitino is planning to use the season to immerse himself in the NBA game and hopes to become a candidate for head-coaching openings in the spring,” Wojnarowski reported.

“I just want to be a part of an organization. I want to develop young players. I want to be part of a team. I miss it terribly. I’m using this time to really study the NBA. If something opens up with a young basketball team, I’d have deep interest in it.

“I think the league is going to get younger and player development will become even more important to every organization. That’s my forte. I believe I can help an organization find a pathway to success.”

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