For the second time in just four seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers have fired coach Mike Brown, this time after a disastrous regular season during which the team displayed little on court harmony and star guards Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters reportedly came to blows in the locker room.
In announcing Brown’s dismissal, owner Dan Gilbert conceded “this is a tough business,” though his disappointment in the way Brown never seemed to gain control of his young, sometime temperamental roster of talent was also palpable.
“It pains all of us here that we needed to make the difficult decision of releasing Mike Brown,” he added. “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.”
The Cavs finished the season at 33-49, a full five games behind the Hawks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Brown previously coached the Cavs during the LeBron James‘ era, but was dismissed following the 2010 season as part of the franchise’s desperate effort to convince the homegrown James to remain in a Cleveland uniform.
The Cavs, who have the option of offering Irving a maximum contract extension this summer, have hinted they plan to be big players in the free agent market. Cleveland also has a first-round draft pick in the June 26 draft that is expected to be in the lottery.
Also on Monday, Gilbert announced that after being installed as the team’s interim GM just after midseason, the team has now hired David Griffin in the job full-time. The Cavs finished the season at 17-16 under Griffin’s watch.
“We chose David as our GM because we believe he is the best person to lead our franchise at this critical time and into the future,” said Gilbert. “David brings over two decades of experience. He knows the ins and outs of this league as well as anyone and is also an outstanding talent evaluator.”
Gilbert said the team has no timetable on naming a replacement for Brown and added the search will be led by him and Griffin.