Cleveland Coach Mike Brown Fired
Brown's agent, Warren LeGarie, confirmed to FanHouse that Brown has been fired after five seasons. The news was first reported by ESPN's Ric Bucher.
The Cavaliers' ownership and front office reportedly had a significant financial interest in deciding Brown's fate by midnight Sunday, as his contract had a clause in which all of his $4.5 million salary for next season would become guaranteed at that time. Yet because he was fired before the deadline, Brown will earn just half of the salary.
An SI.com report that Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert had made up his mind to fire Brown came not long after the Cavs fell in six games to Boston. Gilbert denied the report at the team's postmortem media session on May 14, but ultimately decided on making Brown the fall guy for a season in which Cleveland fell short once again despite having the best record in the regular season (61-21) for the second straight year. Brown compiled a 272-138 record in five seasons leading the Cavaliers, leading the team to the playoffs in each of those seasons. He also took the Cavs to the Finals in 2007, when they fell to San Antonio in four games.
The Cavs now become the sixth team to have a coaching opening, joining New Orleans, the Clippers, Chicago, New Jersey, and Atlanta. They will also move forward with the hopes that soon-to-be free agent LeBron James still approves of the direction in which they're going. Whether firing Brown brings them one step closer to James re-signing in his home state, however, remains to be seen.