Sources: Cavs to interview David Blatt, reach out to Mark Jackson in coach search

Staff and wire report Published:

CLEVELAND -- The Cavaliers' exhaustive head coaching search is expanding -- again.

The team will interview former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt, a person familiar with the team's plans told The Associated Press on Thursday. Earlier in the day, Blatt announced in Israel that he's leaving the European champion to pursue an unspecified job in the NBA. He'll meet with the Cavs next week, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team is not discussing any aspect of its search -- now a month old.

Also Thursday, ESPN reported that the Cavaliers have reached out to Mark Jackson about their head-coaching job, according to sources with knowledge of the team's thinking.

Cavs general manager David Griffin reportedly telephoned Jackson several days ago and the two spoke. No formal interview has been scheduled and it's not clear how serious the Cavs' interest in Jackson is.

The 55-year-old Blatt has known Cavs general manager David Griffin for years. At his news conference, Blatt, who led Maccabi to its first European title this year, said he's weighing offers from unnamed teams and has "a few good options."

He's expected to make a decision soon.

"I am leaving here not because I was asked to. The opposite is true, I was asked to stay, and offered the best possible conditions for such an event," Blatt said. "But I just felt it is a move I wanted to make. It has been a dream of mine for almost forever to go and join a team in the NBA in some capacity.

"I wish I could have done it as a player. I wasn't good enough. But now perhaps I'll have that opportunity as a coach."

Blatt has drawn interest to be an assistant with New York, Golden State and Minnesota. The Cavs, though, are interested in talking to him about being their head coach. They reached out to him last week, but had not set up a face-to-face meeting.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer was first to report Blatt's interview.

Blatt is just the latest candidate to interview with the Cavs, who will have a second meeting with Clippers assistant coach Alvin Gentry on Friday. The team has contacted as many as 12 candidates to fill the vacancy created when owner Dan Gilbert fired Mike Brown -- for the second time -- on May 12.

The Cavs would like to have a coach in place by the NBA draft on June 26, but obviously, the team isn't rushing into any decisions.

Earlier this week, the Cavs interviewed former Cleveland All-Star guard Mark Price, now an assistant with Charlotte. Price has limited head coaching experience, but Griffin has said the team will not be restricted in its search.

ESPN.com earlier reported that the Cavaliers offered Kentucky coach John Calipari a 10-year contract worth nearly $80 million to become the club's president and coach. Calipari signed a new seven-year contract with Kentucky last week.

The Cavaliers also have interviewed Gentry, Tyronn Lue, Lionel Hollins, Vinny Del Negro, Adrian Griffin and Price. Gentry and Lue are believed to be front-runners for the job.

If the Cavs' interest in Jackson progresses, he would become their highest-profile candidate. Jackson, who was fired by Golden State in May, led the Warriors to back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in 22 years.

Jackson won 51 games last season and 47 the season before, compiling a 121-109 record in three seasons with Golden State. He is currently working for ESPN as an analyst during the NBA Finals.

Jackson declined to comment when asked about the reports.

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