Denver Nuggets assistants Wes Unseld Jr. and Jordi Fernandez joined the list of candidates for the Cavaliers’ coaching vacancy on Thursday.
A league source confirmed reports by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe, respectively, that the Cavs had received permission to interview Unseld and Fernandez.
Next to be interviewed will be Utah Jazz assistant Alex Jensen on Friday, according to a league source. Jensen was the first coach of the then-D League’s Canton Charge from 2011-13.
The Cavs have already spoken to former Memphis Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff, the son of Cavs General Manager Koby Altman’s senior adviser Bernie Bickerstaff, Dallas Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley, a Cavs assistant from 2010-14, and Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard.
The Cavs have also received permission to interview Portland Trail Blazers assistants David Vanterpool and Nate Tibbets.
Fernandez’s name has been mentioned in connection with the Cavs for months. He coached the Charge from 2014-16, compiling a 62-38 regular-season record and twice reaching the Eastern Conference finals. Fernandez’s ties to the Cavs go back to the 2009-10 season when then-coach Mike Brown hired him as a player development coach.
A native of Badalona, Spain, Fernandez, 36, is in his third season with the Nuggets. He also has international experience with the Spanish national team and with Club Basquet l’Hospitalet of the Spanish professional league and worked with Impact Basketball in Las Vegas.
Unseld, son of the Hall of Fame player, is in his fourth season with the Nuggets after spending 2012-14 as an assistant with the Orlando Magic and 2011-12 with the Golden State Warriors. Since 2016, Unseld has been the lead assistant to Nuggets coach Michael Malone, a Cavs assistant from 2005-10. Unseld also serves as the team’s defensive coordinator.
Unseld’s father played 13 seasons for the Baltimore/Washington Bullets, then served as Bullets coach from 1987-94. He moved into the role of general manager in 1996 and remained with the team (now the Wizards) through 2003.
Unseld Jr. graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1997 and had non-basketball jobs lined up, but his father asked him to take advantage of a one-year NBA internship with the Wizards.
According to a story on sfgate.com, Unseld Jr. worked in public relations, picked up carryout lunch orders and washed the president’s car before he began evaluating prospects and serving as an advance scout.
Unseld Jr. went on to spend 13 seasons with the Wizards, including six as an assistant coach from 2005-11, and also worked as an advance scout and assistant coach for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.
The Cavs are seeking a replacement for coach Larry Drew, with whom they mutually parted ways April 11 after a 19-63 season that saw Drew take over after an 0-6 start.
Marla Ridenour can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.