It has been a rough few years for Mike Brown, who gets the less than impressive mark of being fired by the same team twice, being let go by the Cleveland Cavaliers after only one season at the helm. This will obviously put the names of George Karl and Stan Van Gundy at the top of the list for successors, while Mark Jackson will also be in the mix, along with college basketball coaches like Billy Donovan, Fred Hoiberg, Tim Izzo, John Beilein and Tony Bennett.
Brown was the head coach for the Cavs from 2005 to 2010, posting a 272-138, reaching the NBA finals once in 2007. Dan Gilbert admitted that firing Brown after the 2009-2010 season was a mistake. LeBron James left the team that season, and Brown has been trying ever since to prove that he isn’t just someone who was riding the success of the best player in basketball. However, he was fired from the Los Angeles Lakers five games into his second season with the team and last just one year with the Cavs on his second tenure.
There’s quite a lot of money coming to Brown as compensation for getting the boot. He had four years remaining on his $20 million contract, without mentioning the big money he is still getting from the Lakers for being fired by them and replaced by Mike D’Antoni. The Cavs expected to make the playoffs this year with Kyrie Irving healthy and drafting Anthony Bennett, but things didn’t go as planned. The Cavs finished with a 33-49 record which might be their best since James left, but didn’t come very close to making the postseason.
Inner turmoil that usually had something to do with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters while watching a team play predictable, selfish and primitive offense didn’t really help Brown keep his job. He is known for being a defensive specialist, but for the first time in his career didn’t have a star like James or Bryant playing for him and carrying his offense. Kyrie Irving might be an All-Star, but he isn’t one of the two we previously mentioned, and the team looked accordingly bad.
So who comes next? Dan Gilbert retained the general manager David Griffin, who was an interim since February, when Chris Grant was fired. Griffin has some connections with Steve Kerr, but it’s unlikely that Kerr, who is deep into his negotiations with the New York Knicks, will prefer the Cavs to both the Knicks and the Warriors. But there are plenty of other names out there that might be suitable for the job.
George Karl, currently keeping himself busy by talking on TV, might be the number one candidate not linked with other teams. Stan Van Gundy is the number one name for the Warriors job and the most likely hiring. Mark Jackson was recently fired by the Warriors, but he wouldn’t be saying no to an offer from the Cavs. Gilbert is probably hoping to see a premier college basketball coach make his way to Ohio, but that’s more difficult to achieve.
With every NBA firing, college basketball coaches come up. The names of Billy Donovan from Florida and Tom Izzo if Michigan State are always out there. Fred Hoiberg is the trendy name right now after the excellent work he has done with Iowa State. People are also talking about John Beilein of Michigan and Tony Bennett of Virginia as next in line to make the leap from college to pro. Right now, the focus is on a head coach that has lost his job for the second time in four years under to the same owner.