The fix! How Mike Brown got back to the Cleveland Cavaliers*
Mike Brown is back in the NBA as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers! How wonderful is that? I get to see Mike Brown on the sideline again.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing Mike Brown pacing the sideline, with that confused, yet puzzled-happy look on his face. It’s the exact same look you have when you’re not sure if you left your lights on in the car, but you’re reassured knowing that you have jumper cables in the trunk. I don’t know how often we will get that confused, yet puzzled-happy look with LeBron is no longer in town. At the same time, the Cavaliers no longer have Eric Snow, Larry Hughes, and Sasha Pavlović. So there’s still plenty of reason to look happy. The question is, what has Mike Brown gotten himself into.
The Cleveland Cavaliers may seem like a bad job from the outside. They’re one of the youngest teams in the league and haven’t won 30 games in the last 3 seasons. They’re also injury prone team, and a team that has a hard time luring free agents. However, this young team has been through the meat grinder and they are starting to show progress. The Cavaliers are a team that is on the precipice of being a perennial playoffs and possible championship contender if they make good moves. They have a point guard in Kyrie Irving that is a potential superstar, and a lot of cap room to build around him (cap room that could end up luring you know who back to Cleveland). However the thing that makes the job most attractive is Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert.
When Dan Gilbert wrote that letter a few years ago in comic sans font, he became a punch line. While hespoke for a vast majority of people in Cleveland. His letter was seen as petulant, and slightly racist. I believe that single instant has overshadowed how great of an owner Dan Gilbert is.
It easy to say that he didn’t do enough to build around LeBron James when he was in Cleveland, especially when you juxtapose it to his situation in Miami. However every year he spared no expense trying to win. He brought in big free agents, traded for players, and even changed coaches. This behavior has continued since LeBron’s departure, and he has openly acknowledged the mistakes he made during that time. Now he has rehired Mike Brown (who should have never been fired in the first place), and it looks as if the team is back on track. Now while I believe the best part about the Cleveland Cavaliers is ownership. I’m pretty sure at least one person will disagree with me…Byron Scott.
The fix was in for Byron Scott. There was nothing he could have done to keep his job. He could have found fresh water on Mars, and would have still gotten fired.
I wasn’t shocked when Byron Scott got fired, because I had connected the dots surrounding his dismissal.
About two weeks before the end of the season. A story came out that talked about the possibility of him being on the chopping block. In the moment I thought, “Huh, I’m sure he’s going to get another year. He’s coaching a young basketball that is slowly improving, and they have already picked up his option for next year….then again. This team isn’t responding defensively and they continue to blow double digit leads in the fourth quarter. Heck, me and some people from the YMCA could put up 90 on Cavaliers. And all Byron Scott would do is peruse the sideline in one of those Gucci suits, while not saying a word.” Then the day Scott got fired immediately reports began to surface about the idea of Mike Brown replacing him. On the surface it seems like a covenant coincidence, but I argue that it was a fix.
The Cavaliers never wanted to fire Mike Brown in the first place. They only got rid of him in hopes that LeBron James would stay. This is a decision they always regretted, especially when the team continued to regress defensively. So while the Cavaliers picked up Byron Scott’s option, with every intent on keeping him. They never saw the possibility that Mike Brown would be fired mid-season by the Lakers. Because Mike Brown was friends with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ GM, they knew they would have a shot to hire him at the end of the season. Consequently Bryon Scott was backed into a corner. If the Cavaliers weren’t able to make the playoffs he would be replaced by Mike Brown. So at the end of the season, with the doom solidified. The Cavaliers’ front office floated the story about the possibility of Byron Scott being fired. They followed that up by firing Scott less than 24 hours after the season expired. That same day a report surfaced that Mike Brown and his family had planned on moving back the Cleveland months ago. Next the Cavaliers pursue Phil Jackson to throw off the scent, while having a handshake deal with Mike Brown. Two days later Mike Brown is introduced as, “Mike Brown 2.0″and the children rejoiced.
Meanwhile Byron Scott came out in a phone interview in which he said, “I don’t think I got a fair shake.” To that I would say, “You’re right Byron you didn’t get a fair shake, but you’re a good coach that will probably get another job within a year. Trust me. If you’re discourage just remember. This is a league that continues to hire Flip Saunders.”
So what does the hiring of Mike Brown me?
It means that Mike Brown will continue to have a very good coaching record in NBA. Somehow he has been able to avoid situations that would have him lose a bunch of games. He got to Cleveland when LeBron was ready to win. Then he left Cleveland at the perfect time, and parlayed his success into a job with the L.A. Lakers. He took the 2012 Lakers to the playoffs when they were still salvageable. Now he is back with the Cleveland Cavaliers. A team that is now ready to go to the playoffs. I don’t know if Mike Brown will be the best overall fit for this club long term, but I do know him being here is a good sign.
*Full of Unapologetic Cleveland Bias
Editor-in-Chief of Comedic Prose
Follow Kortney Williams on Twitter @kortneyshane