Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown has been successful in nearly every aspect of coaching, except for his failure to deliver an NBA championship. And that’s exactly why he was fired by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert late Sunday night, May 23, the Associated Press reports.
By statistical record, Brown is the most successful coach in Cavaliers franchise history, winning more than 270 regular season games with five playoffs appearances in five years. He was named the league’s Coach of the Year in 2009 after leading the Cavs to 66 wins during the season, but expectations from both the fans and the Cavs’ front office grew to hopes of winning a NBA title, a task Brown failed at when his team was eliminated from the Eastern Conference semifinals last week.
“After a long and deep analysis of all of the factors that led to the disappointing early ends to our playoff runs over the past two seasons, we concluded that it was time for the Cavaliers to move in a different direction,” said Gilbert in a statement released to the media May 24. Gilbert decided to relieve Brown of his coaching duties just minutes before a midnight deadline Sunday night that would have forced the team to pay him a $4.5 million salary for next season, ESPN reports.
“The expectations of this organization are very high and, although change always carries an element of risk, there are times when that risk must be taken in an attempt to break through to new, higher levels of accomplishment. This is one of those times.”
It’s still uncertain as to whom the Cavs will replace Brown with, but whoever he is, superstar LeBron James will more than likely have a say in his hiring. Cleveland is one of several teams highly interested in signing James, who will be a free agent this summer. According to the AP, James’ publicist said the two-time Most Valuable Player is currently on vacation and unavailable for comment. Reports also say Brown has not answered phone calls or even a knock at his house door in Westlake, Ohio.
“I have truly enjoyed working with Mike Brown,” Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry told reporters of the 40-year-old African-American coach. “Mike has played a huge role in turning around the Cavs organization. Over the past five years, Mike established a work ethic, defensive identity and culture of winning that was not here previously.”