Report: Former Celtics Center Vitaly Potapenko to Join Cavaliers as Assistant Coach

POTAPENKO SMITSThe Ukraine Train is set to make a stop in Cleveland.

Vitaly Potapenko, who manned the middle for 3 1/2 seasons in Boston, is expected to return to the NBA as an assistant coach. The 6-foot-10 Ukrainian big man will leave his position as an assistant coach with the D-League’s Santa Cruz Warriors to become an assistant for the Cavaliers, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Potapenko, 38, was drafted 12th overall by the Cavs in the 1996 NBA Draft. He played parts of 11 seasons in the NBA, averaging 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Potapenko came to the Celtics in a late-season trade in 1999, when the Cavs shipped him to Boston for Andrew DeClercq and a first-round draft pick. The Cavs would later use that pick to select Utah point guard Andre Miller, costing the Celtics an opportunity to draft the franchise point guard they would not have until their draft-day trade for Rajon Rondo in 2006.

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