After a brief, unsuccessful stint with the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this year, Mike Brown is getting another chance to coach in the NBA, and this time it’s with a team he is very familiar with.
According to ESPN.com, the Cleveland Cavaliers have rehired the most successful coach in the franchise’s history, signing Brown to a five-year $20 million deal.
The Cavaliers made playoff appearances in each of Brown’s previous five years in Cleveland and even made an NBA Finals appearance in 2007. Since his dismissal, the Cavs have failed to return to the postseason, and though it’s easier to see now, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert realizes that firing Brown in the first place was a mistake.
“Yeah, it was a mistake. Sure it was a mistake,” Gilbert said. “We have the benefit of hindsight right now, and in hindsight it was a mistake. That summer we went through three years ago was a unique time for us as a franchise and the uncertainty on a lot of levels. We are very happy that we get to rectify any position we took back then. Maybe he’s meant to be here.”
Brown certainly didn’t imagine he would be back with the Cavs, but he was thrilled to get a second chance from Gilbert.
“It’s funny how life works out,” Brown said. “But the one thing that I do I know is from afar, Cleveland has always been special in my heart and in my family’s heart. You look at the job that (general manager) Chris Grant and his staff have done, and you feel the commitment from a guy like Dan Gilbert and if it happens, you feel like one of the luckiest guys on the planet.”
Though Brown isn’t returning to a Cavaliers team led by LeBron James, he does have a solid young group with a lot of upside. Kyrie Irving is one of the league’s up and coming stars and with a lottery pick in the 2013 draft and with plenty of salary cap space, Brown has tools to work with.
And Gilbert feels Brown may be the piece that puts the puzzle back together again.
“To me, it just fits perfect like a puzzle,” Gilbert said. “It all comes together, Mike Brown what he brings is exactly what this franchise needs right now. We need an authentic, hard-working grinder who is a defensive-first coach who is engaged at all levels at all times.”
We’ll have to wait and see if Brown still has the magic touch in Cleveland and if the Cavs can turn things around in 2013-2014.