With one game left in the season, the Cavs’ head coaching search may be taking shape.
As reported by The Athletic’s Joe Vardon, the Cavs are expected to give Nuggets assistant (and ex-Canton Charge head coach) Jordi Fernandez a “serious look.” Fernandez was the Cavs’ player development coach from 2009-13, was an assistant coach with the Charge in 2013-14 and coached the Charge from 2014-16. In 2016, he was hired by the Nuggets to be on Mike Malone’s staff.
Fernandez, 36, fits the mold of what the Cavs are reportedly looking for: a young, player-development focused coach. He also has a connection to the Cavs due his coaching career beginning in Cleveland and having previously worked for Mike Gansey, the Cavs’ assistant GM and ex-Charge GM.
“He’s been around Hall of Famers, but he’s also been around the last guys in the G-League,” Gansey told the Denver Post in 2018. “Whoever walks through that door, he can relate to them … he’s either watched it, lived it or seen it. That’s why he’s so valuable.
“He gives more than basketball. That’s why I think our guys got so much better and people liked him so much … He could read people and knew when he had to get on them and when not (to) and how to treat them to get the most out of them.”
Additionally, Vardon reports that the Cavs are “doing their homework” on Lakers coach Luke Walton, who is widely expected to be fired. Walton played for the Cavs during his NBA career and was an assistant with the Warriors before taking the Lakers job in 2016. To date, Walton was a 98-147 record as a head coach.
Walton also worked in player development before joining the Warriors and, at 39, is still on the younger side. It’s unclear when the Cavs will begin the interview process and they have yet to formally acknowledge that Larry Drew won’t be back next year — although that’s considered a formality at this point.
The search is also likely to be wider than just Fernandez and Walton. But these are two logical names to start with.