Cavaliers fire Brown for the second time
MIKE BROWN'S second shot with the Cavaliers lasted one season.
Brown was fired yesterday for the second time in 4 years by owner Dan Gilbert, who last April brought back the only coach to get the Cavs to the NBA Finals but then dismissed him after the team failed to make the playoffs.
The Cavs went 33-49 under Brown, who had 4 years remaining on his contract. Brown was fired last year by the Los Angeles Lakers only five games into his second season.
"This is a very tough business," Gilbert said in a statement. "It pains all of us here that we needed to make the difficult decision of releasing Mike Brown. Mike worked hard over this last season to move our team in the right direction. Although there was some progress from our finish over the few prior seasons, we believe we need to head in a different direction. We wish Mike and his family nothing but the best."
Gilbert also said David Griffin would be retained as general manager. Griffin had been the interim GM since Feb. 6, when Gilbert fired Chris Grant.
Just a year ago, Gilbert said he made a mistake in firing Brown the first time.
Now he's done it again.
Brown was let go in 2010 after the Cavs failed to advance past the Eastern Conference semifinals. At the time, it appeared Gilbert was making the move - and hiring Byron Scott as coach - to appease superstar LeBron James and keep him in Cleveland. James, though, decided to leave as a free agent for Miami.
The Cavs improved defensively under Brown, moving from last in the league in field goal percentage to 12th. But the offense was a continued work in progress and the Cavs didn't make a late playoff push despite a favorable schedule down the stretch.
Brown seemed resigned to his fate following the season finale, when he said he would support whatever decision Gilbert made about him.
"It's his team," Brown said.
Gilbert had high praise for Griffin, who previously worked in Phoenix's front office before coming to Cleveland.
"He is a general manager who is aligned with our culture and philosophy which is the foundation of how we do business," Gilbert said. "David is not only passionate about his own job but also cares deeply about the success of everyone around him. His presence alone creates an infectious positive environment with players, coaches, front office people and even our fan base. We already saw some progress in the short time David led our basketball side in the latter part of this past season. Clearly, we have substantial work ahead of us and I am confident that 'Griff' will play an essential part of the growth and success of our organization."
In a game last night
* At Brooklyn, LeBron James tied his playoff career high with 49 points, Chris Bosh made the tiebreaking three-pointer with 57 seconds left, and the Miami Heat beat the Nets, 102-96, for a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
James carried the Heat nearly the entire way until Bosh hit the shot that put Miami ahead for good. Ray Allen followed with four free throws and James finished it off with one more, putting the Heat in position to wrap it up at home tomorrow in Game 5.
James was 16 of 24 from the field and 14 of 19 from the free throw line in matching the 49 points he scored for Cleveland against Orlando in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals. He missed his second free throw with 1.1 seconds left, muttering to himself after it fell out.
Joe Johnson scored 18 points for the Nets.