- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Cleveland Cavaliers have interviewed Washington Wizards personnel director Milt Newton for their vacant general manager’s job, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

Wizards president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld confirmed yesterday the club had given the Cavaliers permission to interview Newton.

According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Cavaliers told Newton they would get back to him within 10 days following his interview, meaning he could learn as soon as tomorrow if he has the job.

The source said the Cavaliers also have interviewed San Antonio Spurs director of basketball operations Danny Ferry, the son of former Washington Bullets general manager Bob Ferry, but Newton is believed to be the leading candidate.

Attempts to reach Newton yesterday were unsuccessful.

The Newton situation lends more credence to reports that Detroit Pistons coach Larry Brown will become the Cavaliers’ president of basketball operations at the conclusion of the Pistons’ playoff run. Newton played for Brown’s 1988 national championship team at Kansas.

Brown, who coached the Pistons to an NBA championship last season, has denied published reports he will leave the Pistons at the end of the season because of ill health.

Brown reiterated those feelings yesterday, lashing out at suggestions he would leave the Pistons with three years remaining on his contract to head up the Cavaliers.

“I want to coach here,” Brown told. “I want to coach. This is what I’ve done my whole life. I love this team. I think I’ve said that 100 times. No one wants to write that.”

While Brown is denying reports of his departure, it is telling that the Cavaliers have talked to Newton and told him they could make a decision as early as tomorrow. That — along with Indiana Pacers vice president David Morway no longer being a candidate to become the GM — would seem to indicate Brown already has committed to the Cavaliers despite his team’s involvement in the Eastern Conference finals.

Newton, 39, is considered a rising star in the league. Grunfeld hired him two summers ago, and before that he was the director of player personnel for the National Basketball Development League from 2000 to 2003.

Brown hired him as a scout when he coached the Philadelphia 76ers, and Newton spent two years in that position. Newton also spent four seasons as assistant director for the USA men’s basketball program.

If Newton gets the job, the Cavaliers will have a strong Washington connection. Mike Brown, who will be the named the team’s coach later this week, served as an assistant with the Wizards under current Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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