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Report: Cavaliers To Hire Wittman

July 7, 1999

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Minnesota Timberwolves assistant Randy Wittman will be hired as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, two TV stations reported.

Timberwolves spokesman Kent Wipf wouldn’t confirm reports by Twin Cities stations KARE-TV and KSTP-TV. Wittman doesn’t have a listed phone number in the Twin Cities area.

Cavaliers spokesmen Bob Zink and Bob Price didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

Wittman, 39, in five years with the Timberwolves has gained a reputation as one of the league’s brightest assistants. He also has been an assistant with the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks.

A nine-year NBA veteran, Wittman was a first-round draft pick of the Washington Bullets in 1983 but was traded to the Atlanta Hawks before the 1983-84 season. He averaged 7.4 points a game in playing stints with Atlanta, Sacramento and Indiana.

In addition to playing for Indiana’s 1981 NCAA title team, Wittman was a two-time academic All-American with the Hoosiers.

The Cavs have been looking for a coach since June 1, when Mike Fratello was fired.

Cleveland hasn’t made it past the first round of the playoffs since 1993 and attendance has sagged from 18,011 a game in 1994-95 to 14,120 last season.

Wittman met with Cavs general manager Jim Paxson on June 16 and was back in Cleveland 10 days later to have dinner with Paxson. He emerged as the frontrunner over the holiday weekend after meeting with Gund at the owner’s offices in Princeton, N.J.

Wittman, Dave Cowens, Del Harris and John MacLeod were known to have been interviewed for the coaching vacancy. Wittman is the only one who hasn’t been an NBA head coach.

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