There have been mixed reports about the Cleveland Cavaliers having interest in current Panathinaikos head coach Rick Pitino.
The first report about the Cavaliers interest in Rick Pitino came out Saturday. Cleveland has been looking to find Larry Drew’s replacement since the season ended. Drew and the Cavaliers agreed to part ways after a trying season. It is easy to understand why Cleveland would have interested in Pitino. Pitino has a history of success, although it is at the college level and not the NBA. Pitino previously coached in the NBA during the late 1980’s, late 1990’s and early 2000’s. In six seasons with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics Pitino compiled a 192-220 record.
However Cleveland has since denied the interest in Pitino. Cleveland claims they have no interest in the Panathinaikos head coach. This could be true, but this could also be part of the overall hiring process. Cleveland has interest in several other candidates who are currently assistants on playoff teams. It is entirely possible that this is case of not wanting to burn bridges with potential head coaches before even entering the interview process.
Rick Pitino has sort of a sketchy past, most notably the scandal at Louisville regarding pay for play. Pitino was fired from Louisville and the 2013 NCAA Tournament Championship was forfeited. Even though the title was forfeited it still happened. Pitino coached that Louisville team to a championship.
If the Cavaliers believe that Rick Pitino can help guide their current young roster, then it is hard to fault their thought process. Although it is worth noting that there are plenty of other options out there without the checkered past. Rick Pitino might be a name, but it is probably a wise idea to look in a different direction for the next head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.