After completing interviews with several candidates including Los Angeles Lakers assistant Brian Shaw, the Cavaliers have decided to “move in the Scott direction,” said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the process is supposed to remain confidential.
The person said Cleveland has not yet offered Scott the job, “but is moving toward an agreement with him.”
“Nothing is done or finalized,” the person said.
Scott, a two-time NBA coach of the year, was believed to be a leading candidate to replace Phil Jackson in Los Angeles if the 11-time champion retired. Jackson is expected to announce his plans later this week, but Scott’s renewed interest in Cleveland — hours before LeBron James is set to hit the free-agent market — could indicate Jackson will return to try and win a third straight championship with the Lakers.
The Cavs have been without a coach since firing Mike Brown on May 24, less than two weeks after the team fell short of a title with a second-round loss to Boston.
Shaw appeared to be the frontrunner to take over the Cavs following a two-day interview with owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Chris Grant. Shaw’s agent, Jerome Stanley, confirmed in an e-mail to The AP late Tuesday night that his client was Cleveland’s favored choice, and there were reports that Shaw was assembling a staff to help him in his first head coaching gig.
Scott’s agent, Brian McInerney, even sent out an e-mail congratulating Shaw on getting Cleveland’s job.
But the Cavs never offered Shaw the position, and their attention turned to Scott on Wednesday as they prepared to make a strong pitch in coming days to woo James.
Scott could entice the two-time MVP’s return. Scott won three NBA titles as a player with the Lakers on their “Showtime” teams as Magic Johnson’s backcourtmate. He also has experience coaching superstar players like Jason Kidd and Chris Paul, both of whom are friends with James.
Scott emerged as a strong contender in Cleveland after Michigan State coach Tom Izzo turned down the club’s reported $30 million offer two weeks ago. Scott and McInerney met with Gilbert, Grant and other members of the Cavs’ ownership group on Father’s Day in Michigan.