According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavs have received permission from the Portland Trail Blazers to interview assistant coaches Nate Tibbetts and David Vanterpool for the team’s opening head coaching position. Portland is currently in the playoffs (and up 3-1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder), so it’s unclear exactly when the interviews would take place.
Cleveland has received permission to interview Portland assistants Nate Tibbetts and David Vanterpool for franchise's head coaching job, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 23, 2019
Vanterpool, 46, has been with Portland since 2012 and was previously an assistant with CSKA Moscow in Russia. As a professional, he played 22 games with the Wizards in 2001 and had cups of coffee with the Pistons and Nets, but never appeared in a game for either team. He also played in the CBA, China and Italy before transitioning to coaching.
In Portland, Vanterpool has been given a lot of credit for the Blazers’ success and player development. Last year, he interviewed for the Magic and Hornets jobs and is currently linked to the Suns opening. Being a well-regarded assistant doesn’t always mean anything, but it doesn’t hurt. Vanterpool is as respected as they come.
Tibbetts. 41, was an assistant with the Cavs from 2011-2013. Like Vanterpool, he well-respected around the league and has a background in player development, dating back to his time coaching in the G-League. Last year, he interviewed for the Hawks head coaching job that went to Lloyd Pierce. Again, being well-respected isn’t a guarantee he’ll be a good head coach. But it doesn’t hurt.
Both Vanterpool and Tibbetts — along with previously reported candidates like Juwan Howard and Jamahl Mosley — fit in with previous reporting that the Cavs want a younger head coach who has experience in player development. The timeline on hiring a new coach is unclear with the playoffs currently ongoing, but these are the type of names that make sense for the Cavs. Hiring Vanterpool or Tibbetts or another coach with a similar background is exactly what Cleveland should be doing right now with a largely young roster and draft picks to make this summer. Hiring Vanterpool or Tibbetts would be far, far better than hiring Rick Pitino or someone like him. And, for what it’s worth, the Cavs are reportedly not actually into Pitino.