It's been a while since the Cleveland Cavaliers hopped on the coaching carousel in search of a successor to J.B. Bickerstaff as the team's next head coach. In that time, several names have been linked to Cleveland with prior head coaching experience, like former Charlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego, who makes a ton of sense for the Cavs. The same goes for Terry Stotts and Dave Joerger, who have both run NBA teams in the past but don't make nearly as much sense for Cleveland, unlike Borrego.

But it hasn't just been candidates with prior head coaching experience that are in the mix for the Cavs. Again, Cleveland has been on the coaching carousel for a while now, so the team will take the time to decide. That due diligence has allowed three dark horse candidates, none with prior head coaching experience, to emerge. Even with the lack of experience, all three make sense for the Cavs, even if a team like Cleveland wants to level up and become a title contender.

Who has emerged as a serious head coaching candidate for the Cavs?

Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Micah Nori reacts during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Micah Nori – Assistant Coach, Minnesota Timberwolves

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Cleveland has been granted permission by the Minnesota Timberwolves to interview lead assistant coach Micah Nori for their head coaching position. Nori has served in various NBA roles over nearly the last two decades, with stops in Toronto, Sacramento, Denver and Detroit before landing in Minnesota under Chris Finch. Through all those stops, Nori slowly but surely gained valuable insight, allowing him to emerge as a coaching candidate.

When Finch brought Nori onto his staff in Minnesota, where he named Nori his lead assistant, he spoke glowingly about Nori’s in-game management. Situational management, lineups and rotations, and end-of-game management are some things Nori is in charge of and is known to be great at handling. Nori has also spent time around and coaching some of the greatest big men of all time, including Chris Bosh, DeMarcus Cousins, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns.

Combine that experience with his in-game tactical ability, and the Cavs could have a coach in Nori who can unlock and maximize a team with Evan Mobley as the central focus on either end of the floor. Considering that Nori has also handled these responsibilities on numerous deep playoff runs, it makes sense why Cleveland would strongly consider him as their next head coach.

Johnnie Bryant – Associate Head Coach, New York Knicks

While New York Knicks associate head coach Johnnie Bryant might surprise some, it makes sense for the Cavs to zero in on him as a candidate. Bryant has deep ties to Cleveland star guard Donovan Mitchell, serving as Mitchell’s player development coach while both were with the Utah Jazz. Mitchell has repeatedly said that no one has meant more to his career than Bryant, and if the Cavaliers want Mitchell to sign an extension right away, then hiring Bryant could help expedite the process.

Mitchell or not, Bryant also has his own coaching resume to lean on as well. Bryant has an impressive developmental background, coaching at Bryant Sports Academy before his time in the NBA. He helped develop former NBA forward Paul Millsap and Milwaukee Bucks star Damian Lillard there. While serving as a development assistant with the Jazz, Bryant coached Gordon Hayword and Rudy Gobert, who went on to stardom in the league, while also playing a hand in developing the Knicks into what they are today.

Bryant could be an immediate and long-term investment for Cleveland as head coach if hired. Sure, he can help Mitchell re-sign, which is a major focus for the Cavs this offseason. However, Bryant can also help develop and push the younger players on Cleveland’s roster while guiding them to victory after learning from the league’s very best during his time in Utah and New York.

Chris Quinn – Assistant Coach, Miami Heat

Miami Heat assistant coach Chris Quinn began his coaching career collegiately with Northwestern, serving as the team’s director of player development. He then joined the Miami a year later and has been there ever since. During his time with the Heat, Quinn generated plenty of leaguewide interest, interviewing for multiple head coach openings in the past with the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, Utah Jazz, and Washington Wizards. Quinn is also currently in the running for the Lakers head coaching position.

When looking at Quinn's coaching chops, it's easy to understand the intrigue. Quinn has been called Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra’s mini-me during his time with the Heat because of his temperament, organizational skills, and ability to connect with players. Quinn has also been largely credited with helping Miami consistently develop rotation-worthy players like former Heat and current Cavs sharpshooter Max Strus.

If Cleveland wants to build a consistent winner with title aspirations, perhaps it should take a swing at a near copy of Spoelstra, who first began his career coaching the LeBron James-led Heat teams. Then, perhaps they could strike gold on a possible foundation piece in Quinn.