Cleveland Cavaliers: 5 long-term candidates to replace head coach John Beilein

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
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2. Becky Hammon

Much like the eventual return of the Seattle SuperSonics, Knicks fans booing their first-round draft pick or Jeff Van Gundy complaining about something, Becky Hammon becoming the first female head coach in NBA history feels all but inevitable. The question is when and where it will happen.

Here’s the thing: The big names in the NBA and NCAA alike won’t seriously consider taking Cleveland’s vacant head coaching gig. There’s no job security, there’s no marquee name to attract a coach’s eye and there’s dysfunction throughout the organization. Working for a year or two and still securing the bag for 3-5 seasons sounds nice until you remember how much money Beilein left on the table just to get the hell out of there and be happy again.

As such, someone like Hammon, who’s been an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs since 2014, may not consider the Cavs job either. She could very well just be biding her time until Gregg Popovich decides to hang it up, at which point she would be one of the best available in-house candidates to carry on his legacy.

With that being said, it was somewhat telling a few months back when Pop was ejected from a game and new assistant coach Tim Duncan filled in for him. That alone doesn’t mean much, and Duncan may not even want a head coaching gig, but if Hammon feels she’s ready and doesn’t want to wait for Pop’s retirement to get her chance, an NBA opening of any kind would be a historic move, both for her and the league at large.

To that end, if Bickerstaff doesn’t work out and the Cavaliers want to make a good move — saying nothing of the positive, empowerment PR storm it would bring — they’d do well to consider Hammon. Whether she’d consider leaving the Spurs is another matter entirely (and it’s the only reason she’s not No. 1 on the list), but for a franchise that needs a quality long-term hire, positive press and a coach who can actually relate to the players, Hammon checks every single box.