Mike Brown might be back with the Cavaliers, but let's not forget: He was fired by them in 2010. Canned. Axed. Booted. Sacked. Handed his walking papers.
You get it.
Brown's five-year tenure was the most successful stretch in franchise history. It saw the team win 66 games in a season and included an appearance in the NBA Finals. But Cleveland fell short of the ultimate prize. And with LeBron James' free agency pending, the Cavs fired Brown. Most saw the reason for it being an effort to appease LeBron and sort of let him hand pick his next coach. LeBron went to Miami and, after a year off, Brown landed on his feet in Los Angeles.
But Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is brushing off the awkwardness of firing and then rehiring him by calling it a mistake.
“With the benefit of hindsight, yeah, it was a mistake,” Gilbert said, via the News-Herald. “It was a unique time for the franchise. There was uncertainly on many levels.
“Maybe he was meant to be here. It's a puzzle that fits perfect together.”
Brown was recently on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, via Sports Radio Interviews and was asked about Gilbert's admission. In typical Mike Brown fashion, he took it in stride.
“He didn't have to say that," Brown said. "That was something you appreciate because it takes a lot for anyone, let alone Dan Gilbert, to stand up in front of the whole world and say something like that. It's much appreciated, it's something he didn't have to say but you do appreciate him as a person and his level of commitment in trying to bring a championship here to Cleveland. That's part of the reason why myself and my family felt fortunate enough to be able to come back to such a great place.”
But what about that pesky perception that he was fired stictly to make LeBron happy? It's impossible to ignore that Brown was unbelievably successful with the Cavs and then, coincidentally, right before LeBron hits free agency, the Cavs can Brown. It's not outside the realm of reason to assume that Brown was fired because Gilbert thought it was give him a better chance to keep LeBron. How does Brown feel about that?
“Let's put it this way, I was done I think May 27, so there was still a month and a half before LeBron had to decide whether or not he wanted to stay here or go to Miami or go to wherever," he said. "I was nowhere near the picture when that decision happened. He did not stay. Obviously, I think anybody can determine from that standpoint that whether I was here or not, that had nothing to do with his decision-making during that time.”
So if Mike Brown's firing had nothing to do with the LeBron situation, then one would definitely have to assume that his rehiring also has nothing to do with LeBron, and the fact he's a free agent in 2014, right?