October 25, 2014

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Former star Mark Price to interview for Cavaliers coaching job, while John Calipari reportedly turned down huge deal

Mark Price

Mark Price

The Cavaliers’ coaching search just got a whole lot more interesting.

The team will interview extremely popular former point guard Mark Price today for its vacant head coaching position, according to several reports Monday.

That wasn’t the only news on a busy day regarding the search for a successor to Mike Brown, fired May 12 after going 33-49 in the first — and only — season of his second stint with the team.

Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry will reportedly have a second interview with the team, and others among a previously interviewed group of Tyronn Lue, Vinny Del Negro, Adrian Griffin and Lionel Hollins could follow.

University of Kentucky coach John Calipari, meanwhile, previously turned down a seven-year, $60 million offer — some reports had it for even more years and money — to be president and head coach of the Cavs.

The biggest news of the day, however, ended up being Price’s sudden emergence as a candidate.

A four-time All-Star and 1993 first-team All-NBA selection — LeBron James is the only other Cleveland player to earn the latter honor — the 50-year-old Price has been a coach in the league since 2007. He spent last season with Charlotte.

The 6-foot, 170-pounder served as a shooting coach for Memphis in 2007-08 and for Atlanta from 2008-10. He joined Golden State as an assistant in 2010, and in 2011 was hired by Orlando as a player development coach. He served as the Magic’s summer league coach in 2012.

Whether the polite, soft-spoken and deeply religious Price is a legitimate candidate is unclear, but there is no doubt he is one of the most popular players in franchise history.

After a standout career with Georgia Tech, the Enid, Okla., native was taken by Dallas with the first pick in the second round (25th overall) of the 1986 NBA Draft and traded to Cleveland the same day.

Price averaged 15.2 points and 6.7 assists while shooting .904 from the line over his 12-year career, the first nine of which were spent with the Cavs.

Price, who twice won the Three Point Shootout, was an All-Star in 1989 and from 1992-94. He ranks first in Cavs history in 3-pointers made (802), assists (4,206) and free throw percentage (.906), second in steals (734), third in 3-point percentage (.409), fifth in points (9,543) and sixth in games played (5,826).

Price also played on the United States national team known as Dream Team II, winning a gold medal at the 1994 FIBA World Championships.

Price began his coaching career at Duluth High in 1998 and played an instrumental role in the team reaching the semifinals of the Georgia 5A state tournament when head coach Joe Marelle learned he had non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Price went on to become an assistant to Bobby Cremins, his coach at Georgia Tech, in 1999-2000. He later became head coach at Whitefield Academy in Atlanta.

In 2003, Price served as a consultant with the Denver Nuggets and then did television work for the Cavs and Hawks before getting back into coaching in 2006, when he was named head coach of Australia’s South Dragons. Price was fired after the team started 0-5.

As for Calipari, Yahoo Sports reported he turned down an offer from the Cavs that would have given him final say on all roster decisions over general manager David Griffin, the man now leading the team’s coaching search. Calipari then signed a seven-year, $52 million deal to stay at Kentucky.

Gentry and perhaps several others already interviewed could soon meet again with the Cavs, with owner Dan Gilbert expected to be part of the proceedings.

The Cavs have also reached out to University of Florida coach Billy Donovan and Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt. The Donovan inquiries don’t appear to have gotten too far, and it’s not known if Blatt will be interviewed.

The Cavs would like to have a coach in place by the June 26 NBA Draft — they own the No. 1 pick and will almost certainly choose between Kansas shooting guard Andrew Wiggins, Jayhawks center Joel Embiid and Duke small forward Jabari Parker if a blockbuster trade is not made — but they don’t appear to have a set deadline.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @RickNoland.

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