The Cavaliers have received permission to interview Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for their vacant head coaching job, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link).
Messina adds to a long list of coaches who have registered interest from Cleveland, including Blazers assistants David Vanterpool and Nate Tibbetts, Nuggets assistants Jordi Fernandez and Wes Unseld Jr., Mavs assistant Jamahl Mosley, Jazz assistant Alex Jensen, Heat assistant Juwan Howard, Spurs assistant Ime Udoka and former Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
Among the group, only Mosley, Howard, Bickerstaff, and Jensen have interviewed to date. The Cavs are conducting a wide-ranging search in wake of their mutual parting with former coach Larry Drew, but the team has yet to ask for permission to interview any college coaching candidates, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
Messina holds several years of coaching experience and started with the Spurs in 2014. Before that, he spent over two decades coaching overseas and eventually agreed to become a consultant for the Lakers in 2011-12.
“Coach Messina is one of the finest coaches we have in the business, and hopefully he will get a shot to show that (as a head coach) in the NBA at some point” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said this season, as relayed by Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.
This would be the second head coaching gig Messina has interviewed for in the past calendar year. He pursued the Suns’ job last spring and ultimately lost to the recently fired Igor Kokoskov, also receiving interest from teams such as the Kings and Lakers in their coaching searches at the time.