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By TOM WITHERS | AP
CLEVELAND -- As they debate what to do with the No. 1 draft pick, the Cavaliers made a significant first move in their coaching search.
The team interviewed Chicago Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin for its coaching vacancy Tuesday, two people with knowledge of the meeting told the Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the situation.
Griffin is believed to be the first candidate to formally interview with the Cavs, who are looking for their third coach in three years after owner Dan Gilbert fired Mike Brown last month for the second time in four years.
And while the team was meeting with Griffin, Florida coach Billy Donovan, who has reportedly been contacted by the Cavs, wouldn't promise he will return for another season in Gainesville.
"I think when you start making guarantees about life and start making guarantees about where you're going to be, that's not good because if for some reason I ever change my mind and did something, I wouldn't want (people) saying, 'Well, he promised, he guaranteed, he said this on record,'" Donovan said at the Southeastern Conference's annual spring meetings.
"I just think when you start doing that, that's a mistake."
The 39-year-old Griffin wasn't drafted out of college, but he played for five teams during nine seasons in the NBA. He has been on Tom Thibodeau's staff in Chicago since 2010. He also worked under former Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles.
Griffin's background working with the defensive-minded Thibodeau and Skiles, and playing under Jeff Van Gundy and Don Nelson makes him an attractive choice to Gilbert, who believes defense wins championships. New Cavs general manager David Griffin has said he wants to find a coach with "the defensive background that's dyed in the wool of this franchise" and one with offensive openness.
Soon after Brown was let go following a disappointing 33-49 season, Griffin was one of the first candidates to be linked to Cleveland's opening. He has a good rapport with players, and can identify with life as a pro after being bounced around the league and playing in Europe. Griffin has been pursuing his doctorate in leadership studies while working as an assistant.
Last week, a person familiar with the Cavaliers' plans told the AP the club plans to interview Los Angeles Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry this week. He previously worked in Phoenix with David Griffin.
The Cavs are also reportedly interested in meeting with Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue, and intend to interview former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins later this week.