*Mike Brown is a done deal in Cleveland.
The Cavaliers head coach was let go in the wee hours after his five-year run failed to yield an NBA championship. The Cavaliers fired him before a midnight deadline Sunday night to avoid paying him his full $4.5 million salary for next season.
Cleveland was booted from the playoffs two weeks ago by the Boston Celtics, who upset the NBA’s top regular-season team in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. According to ESPN.com, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert decided to fire Brown after an organizational review that began following the Cavs’ exit from the playoffs.
“After a long and deep analysis of all of the factors that led to the disappointing early ends to our playoff runs over the past two seasons, we concluded that it was time for the Cavaliers to move in a different direction,” Gilbert said in a statement released today by the team. “The expectations of this organization are very high and, although change always carries an element of risk, there are times when that risk must be taken in an attempt to break through to new, higher levels of accomplishment.
“This is one of those times.”
Brown guided Cleveland to the playoffs in each of his five seasons but failed to bring home an NBA championship. He was the NBA’s coach of the year last season after guiding the Cavs to 66 wins. But, Cleveland lost to Orlando in the conference finals, and it was assumed he would have to get the team closer to a championship to keep his job.
Brown, who had one year left on his contract, could end up hired immediately by one of five other NBA teams searching for head coaches.
ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher reports:
Cleveland’s next move will be an interesting one. Because of LeBron James’ uncertain future, it’s possible the Cavs would want his input into their next coaching hire, assuming the two-time MVP is still considering re-signing with Cleveland when free agency opens after midnight on July 1. The Cavs will have to search for a new coach not knowing if James will be back and would have to go into the draft and free agency without a coach.