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Cleveland Cavaliers Follow the Cleveland Browns Example in Firing Mike Brown
They often say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and on Monday afternoon the Cleveland Cavaliers did their best imitation of the Cleveland Browns—firing head coach Mike Brown after just one season in his second stint with the team. As many fans know, the Browns were blasted nationally for their dysfunction after parting ways with head coach Rob Chudzinski, CEO Joe Banner and GM Michael Lombardi after just once season at the helm of the team.
On the same day in which they promoted interim general manager David Griffin to full-time general manager, Griffin and owner Dan Gilbert decided to part ways with Brown after a 33-49 record. That mark was the franchise’s best since LeBron James’ final year with the wine and gold, when they finished with a 61-21 record. The 33 wins in the 2013-2014 season were a nine-win improvement over the previous season.
It is tough to say this was the right move for the Cavaliers, as it seemed like the team was finally getting things together in the second half of the season. Despite this fact, the unwillingness of the young players to fully buy-in to Brown’s defensive based system—especially All-Star Kyrie Irving—was one of the main reasons the front office likely decide to go in a different direction.
What is even more intriguing than the firing itself is the fact that Gilbert was quoted as saying it was a “mistake” to fire Brown the first time around. What could have possibly changed over the course of one season to make him cut ties with Brown again, this time after signing him to a reported deal in the area of five years and 20 million dollars?
The simple answer is that it seems, once again, that Gilbert is attempting to tailor his team to please a star player. Last time, he fired Brown to try to bring in a “big name” head coach to keep James, this time it seems they are doing the same thing in an attempt to get Irving to sign a five-year extension when they can first offer it to him this summer.
But what coach on the market would convince Irving to stay in Cleveland?
That is a good question, especially since the timing of Brown’s firing directly coincides with the shocking firing of Mark Jackson in Golden State. Jackson being let go despite getting the most out of his team could have propelled the Cavaliers to fire Brown and make a run at him. Though there have yet to be direct rumors, do not be surprised if that is something that sparks up in the near future.
Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio wrote today that some candidates who could be in the running are, “Former Suns coaches Mike D’Antoni and Scott Skiles, current Suns assistant Jerry Sichting, former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson, former NBA Coach of the Year George Karl, and former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollings, who has already expressed an interest in the job.”
There seems to be plenty of options out there for Gilbert and Griffin as they look for the coach who will finally end their playoff drought since the 2010 season. But if they continue to hire and fire coaches without giving them the time to truly build their own team, it may be time to ask the question—is the real problem in the ownership?
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