Blog Entry

Cavs fire Brown; next up, LeBron (UPDATE)

Posted on: May 24, 2010 2:40 am
Edited on: June 5, 2010 2:16 pm
The unraveling of the Cavaliers’ season came to its inevitable conclusion early Monday with a source confirming to that coach Mike Brown has been fired.

Back-to-back 60-win seasons couldn’t save Brown from the backlash of another premature playoff ouster after the Cavs, with the best record in the league, were eliminated from the playoffs in six games by the Boston Celtics.

By firing Brown, the 2008-09 NBA coach of the year, by Sunday at midnight, the Cavs avoided his $4.5 million salary for next season becoming fully guaranteed. Since he was let go before the deadline, only half of Brown’s salary is guaranteed.

Brown, a strong defensive coach groomed in the successful Spurs organization, will immediately become a candidate for head coaching openings in New Orleans and Atlanta and perhaps elsewhere.

According to a second source familiar with the Cavs' strategy, Brown's ouster was the first -- and most important -- piece of the puzzle that had to be solved before Cleveland could proceed with its plan to persuade LeBron James to return to the Cavs once the free-agent negotiating period begins July 1. Recent reports have indicated that James recused himself from the decision on Brown, but decision makers in the organization were well aware that he was not pleased with the way the team failed to adjust to its opponent's style of play for the second straight postseason. Last season, it was Orlando foiling the Cavs' simplistic defensive rotations. This time, it was Boston shredding the Cavs' defense with Rajon Rondo's dribble penetration and mismatches on the interior, with Kevin Garnett exposing Antawn Jamison for the entire six-game series.

In a telling dose of doom for Brown after the Cavs' ouster in Game 6 of the conference semis, James was noncommittal about Brown and declined to come to his defense publicly when asked. Despite Brown's regular season success, it was only a matter of time before the playoff losses caught up to him. And in Cleveland, where an entire city is bracing for James' anticipated foray into unrestricted free agency, the regular season doesn't matter. Playoffs and championships do.

So with everyone from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to President Obama urging LeBron to weigh his chances of winning a title in another city, the process of sucking up to James begins anew. What coach would persuade him to stay? Or better yet, what coach and supporting cast would persuade him not to leave?

Despite the Cavs' best efforts to placate him with roster additions that have not worked -- Mo Williams, Shaquille O'Neal, Jamison -- there is a growing belief among those familiar with the situation that James is more open than ever to the possibility that he would be able to find a better supporting cast in Chicago. Several factors independent of the Cavs' playoff collapse have enhanced the Bulls' position. The possibility of playing with Derrick Rose, and the fact that the Bulls have left their coaching job vacant -- with James' buddy, John Calipari, lurking in the wings and with Phil Jackson's contractual situation with the Lakers still unresolved -- have conspired to make the Cavs' job of keeping him even harder.

Step one was firing Brown, whether LeBron was directly involved in the decision or not. The next set of dominoes will begin tumbling almost immediately, with Cleveland engaging in a coaching search and LeBron getting some clarity as to what he'd be returning to if he stayed in Cleveland.

Whether Brown deserved to be fired is hardly the issue. Given the expectations, and what was at stake for James' future, it's hard to argue with the decision. Under those circumstances, you can't bring a team with the best record in the league into the playoffs and lose as thoroughly as the Cavs did and expect to keep your job. All we know for sure, though, is that one shoe has dropped. The big ones -- the franchise-shaping ones -- are coming next.


Since: Apr 19, 2010
Posted on: May 24, 2010 9:27 am

Cavs fire Brown; next up, LeBron (UPDATE)

Brown should have been fired last year he proved in a series against a decent team with a good coach that he doesnt know how to make adjustments. This year just made it more obvious when after 90 games he couldnt even come up with a playoff rotation. Glad to see him go.

Since: Jul 13, 2009
Posted on: May 24, 2010 8:51 am

Cavs fire Brown; next up, LeBron (UPDATE)

"The best talent in the league"--You are joking, right?  I agree he didn't have this team playing at a high level and should be fired as a result of it, but he did not have anywhere near the talent on this team to win a title.  LeBron's a great athlete, but doesn't understand the concept of a team sport.  And the rest of the team has some potential, but is nowhere near a championship level yet.  Boston, Orlando, L.A., Phoenix, Utah, Denver, Portland (when healthy), and Oklahoma City are all more talented than Cleveland.  Mo Williams can play good offense at times but can't play defense; Anderson Varejao is exactly the opposite; Antawn Jamison is good but is no Scottie Pippen; Zydrunas Ilgauskas is a waste of a roster spot; and Shaq hasn't been good for five years.  They got through the regular season by slaughtering a bunch of really crappy teams, but once they have to play teams that are actually good?  No shot.

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: May 24, 2010 8:34 am

Cavs fire Brown; next up, LeBron (UPDATE)

players win games,,,not coaches "The so called King laid down again this year and choked with the best record in basketball and Home Court through out..Im not suprised to see everyone throw Brown under the bus..But at least he had fire and was intense..Lebron looked and played like he was ready to go play with Jay Zee

Since: Mar 23, 2009
Posted on: May 24, 2010 7:44 am

Cavs fire Brown; next up, LeBron (UPDATE)

If that's the case, John Calipari shouldn't have a job in Kentucky.

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: May 24, 2010 6:46 am

Cavs fire Brown; next up, LeBron (UPDATE)

Basketball is dead in Cleveland. It's over, and it's never coming back. Does anyone recall how hard it once was to get tickets for Jacobs Field, and how many games were sold out? How's that currently working out? Baseball is dead and now ditto for hoops.

Since: Dec 16, 2008
Posted on: May 24, 2010 6:21 am

Cavs fire Brown; next up, LeBron (UPDATE)

The guy was in over his head and should have been replaced after the Finals lost to the Spurs. He got them as far as he could. The great defensive knowledge never showed..The ability to adjust and create problems for the other team never showed...

They hurt themselves by keeping him after that point, he would require years to figure it all out and win a championship, they didn't have years for him to learn.

And if any of the D. West/Ms James story is TRUE then he will be traded, or more likely dropped if the money isn't TOO great...

Since: Jul 27, 2008
Posted on: May 24, 2010 3:24 am

Cavs fire Brown; next up, LeBron (UPDATE)

Really? Who would of thought a coach of hie stature could be fire. He always had them ready for the games and showed total control of his players..LOL

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: May 24, 2010 3:11 am

Cavs fire Brown; next up, LeBron (UPDATE)

Anybody who butchered a title run when he has the best talent in the league should be fired. Plus he had the whole team loosey-goosey, horsing around too much.  Maybe he gets a gig with the Clippers to let him know he blew areally good thing.

Since: Feb 25, 2008
Posted on: May 24, 2010 2:57 am

Cavs fire Brown; next up, LeBron (UPDATE)

funny this news breaks at 2:40 in the morning.....Mike brown was a terrible coach anyway

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