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Report: Dan Gilbert has spoken to Rick Pitino about Cleveland Cavaliers' head coaching job

According to Hall of Fame reporter Peter Vecsey, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has reached out to former Louisville coach Rick Pitino about his team's head coaching vacancy.
Credit: AP
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino encourages his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, in Indianapolis. Louisville defeated Indiana 77-62. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

It's been more than a week since the Cleveland Cavaliers and Larry Drew mutually parted ways and thus far, all has been relatively quiet on the team's head coaching search.

That, however, may soon change.

Although the Cavs have largely only been linked to NBA assistant coaches, a new report suggests the team may be looking to make a more sizable splash. According to Hall of Fame reporter Peter Vecsey, Cabs owner Dan Gilbert has spoken to former Louisville coach Rick Pitino about his team's head coaching vacancy.

A 2-time national champion with five Final Fours on his resume, Pitino saw his storied college coaching career seemingly come to an end in 2017 following a slew of NCAA violations that ultimately led to his firing at Louisville and the program's 2013 national title being vacated. In the time since, he has taken over Panathinaikos B.C. in Greece, leading the club to the Greek Cup Championship earlier this year.

Credit: AP
Panathinaikos coach Rick Pitino directs players during a Euroleague basketball match between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos in Piraeus near Athens, on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Although Pitino's reputation has largely been built at the college level, he does possess six seasons of head coaching experience in the NBA, including two years with the New York Knicks and four with the Boston Celtics. Following his firing at Louisville, the now-66-year-old Pitino expressed interest in a return to the NBA before ultimately landing overseas.

“I just want to be a part of an organization," he told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. "I want to develop young players. I want to be part of a team. I miss it terribly. I’m using this time to really study the NBA. If something opens up with a young basketball team, I’d have deep interest in it.

“I think the league is going to get younger and player development will become even more important to every organization. That’s my forte. I believe I can help an organization find a pathway to success.”

Between stints at Hawaii, Boston University, Providence, Kentucky and Louisville, Pitino amassed an official 647–392 record with 123 wins and three losses at Louisville having been vacated. Over the course of his six seasons in the NBA, he totaled a 192-220 record, including just one winning season and two total playoff appearances.

Credit: AP
Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman speaks during a news conference at the teams practice facility, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Independence, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Discussing his team's head coaching vacancy, Cavs general manager Koby Altman declined to say whether or not he'd limit his search to just the NBA ranks. Wojnarowski had also reported Cleveland would consider the coaching level, with Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard and Dallas Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley being the only two candidates to have thus far reportedly interviewed for the gig.

"We want to make sure we get this right," Altman said. "We also want to make sure we get to know these candidates really really well, flush this thing out and I hate to keep using this word, but make sure it's the right fit.

"Make sure it's the right fit for our front office, for our players, for our fanbase. We want availability, grinding -- all that kind of stuff. We want to make sure that's the right fit and for that person, that we're the right fit for them too."

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