Rumors have floated around the league this postseason of teams -- specifically the Lakers and Warriors -- wanting to speak with Tom Thibodeau about their respective head coach openings. And while those rumors have had little substance to them and nothing, at least publicly, ever came from those requests, another Bulls coach has emerged as a frontrunner for an opening gig.
According to a report from USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt, Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin is the top candidate for the Cleveland Cavaliers' head coaching vacancy, which opened up Monday afternoon when the team fired Mike Brown. Brown, who was on his second stint with the Cavaliers, spent just one season in Cleveland, going 33-49 and finishing 10th in a weak Eastern Conference.
Griffin, 39, played nine seasons in the NBA from 1999 to 2008. After he was released by the Bucks in 2008 he was hired by head coach Scott Skiles as an assistant. He coached in Milwaukee for two seasons before taking on an assistant role with Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls.
Last year Griffin interviewed for the Philadelphia 76ers' head coach opening, and another Bulls assistant, Ed Pinckney, interviewed with the Memphis Grizzlies a year ago. CSN's Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam wrote last month that both Pinckney and Griffin could land head coaching gigs in the near future, and it seems as though Griffin's may be closer to sooner rather than later.
Griffin has coached the Bulls' Summer League teams in Las Vegas in years' past.
The Cavaliers also announced that interim general manager David Griffin would get the full-time position. He said his head coaching search would begin immediately.
Though Cleveland has not made the playoffs since LeBron James left for Miami, they have an intriguing group of young talent that includes budding superstar Kyrie Irving, former lottery picks Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and last year's No. 1 overall pick, forward Anthony Bennett. They also project to have enough cap space this offseason to lure a major free agent, potentially James, to pair with Irving, who will be a free agent after the 2014-15 season.