Mike Brown hiring is big for Cleveland now
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
It was three summers ago that the Cleveland Cavaliers fired coach Mike Brown in a last-ditch effort to persuade LeBron James to stay.
Fast forward to Tuesday, and Cleveland finally let go of the past, figured that the future will take care of itself and decided to focus on winning. Now.
But the rehiring of Brown as the Cavaliers coach has left one question: What does this do to Cleveland’s chances at persuading James to return when he can become a free agent in the summer of 2014?
That answer isn’t clear just yet. The truth from the Cavaliers’ perspective is that they made this move because of what Brown could do for them now more than what it might mean for the future. For all the detractors of the job he did in five seasons in Cleveland and one-plus seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Chris Grant decided to right what they clearly saw was the wrong move from before.
And if James’ reaction was any indication, there was no reason to think the strain that existed at times between him and the coach remained.
“I’m happy for him, very happy for him,” James told news reporters in Miami before Game 2 of the Heat’s first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks. “I think he’s a really good coach, a very defensive-minded coach. It will be good for those young guys they have.”
Brown, whose winning percentage (.653, 314-167 record) will be fourth best in the league once his hiring and expected five-year, $20 million-plus deal is made official, is the guy they wanted to turn a woeful team around. And to say they’re ecstatic to have him back would be an understatement.
Time will tell if he can take first-time All-Star Kyrie Irving to the next level after the 24-58 season that led to Byron Scott’s firing. Or if the Cavaliers defense that was so staunch during Brown’s time there with James can lose the bottom-five status it has had since they both left. Or if Brown can finally lose his reputation as a coach who is sorely … [For more on Mike Brown hiring is big for Cleveland now, click here.]