ESPN.com is reporting that Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks is a candidate for Toronto’s coaching vacancy.
The report, citing unnamed sources, says Cheeks joins Lawrence Frank and Dwane Casey on the Raptors’ short list.
The Raptors are not expected to make a decision on their coach until GM Bryan Colangelo returns from a scouting trip in Europe. They are also expected to wait until they can interview Mavericks assistant coach Casey, after the NBA Finals.”
This is the second straight summer that Cheeks has been linked to another opening. Last summer, Cheeks was widely reported to be a candidate to join Tom Thibodeau’s staff in Chicago. ESPN.com’s Ric Bucher also tweeted Thursday night that Cheeks may draw interest from Detroit.
Cheeks’ contract with the Thunder, which could have been the barricade that prevented him from jumping to Chicago, is believed to be expiring. If Cheeks does depart Thunder coach Scott Brooks’ staff, his loss could potentially be a big blow in Oklahoma City. Since joining the Thunder prior to the 2009-10 season, Cheeks has been instrumental in the development of point guard Russell Westbrook. With Cheeks’ guidance, Westbrook has become a better lead guard and, in 2010-11, developed into a first-time All-Star and a Second-Team All-NBA selection.
Cheeks owns a 284-286 coaching record over six-plus seasons with Portland and Philadelphia. As a head coach, Cheeks’ teams made the playoffs three times and won 50 games once.