Three years ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers fired Mike Brown after back-to-back 60-win seasons in one of the series of desperate moves they made to convince LeBron James not to leave the Cavaliers.
Now they may be bringing Brown back.
Thursday the Cavaliers fired Byron Scott after three seasons where the talent and defense never seemed to improve, and they could bring Mike Brown back to fill that vacancy, reports Brian Windhorst at ESPN.
With Scott out, there is mutual interest between Brown and the Cavaliers for a possible reunion, according to multiple league sources.
Much of it may depend on Brown, who has told those close to him that he is not sure he’s ready to return to coaching after being let go by the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this season. Brown, who has two years and more than $8 million left on his deal with the Lakers, has said he may take time off to be with his family.
Brown was fired five games into this season by the Lakers when management there decided he was not the guy who could coach their newly assembled superstar roster (that despite injuries that meant he never had his full roster in the preseason or regular season games they played).
Brown is just one of a series of candidates the team will consider, but GM Chris Grant told ESPN they want a coach with experience. There has been some buzz they may at least test the waters with Phil Jackson (although he would want front office power and isn’t looking to coach long term). Seeking an experienced coach appears to rule out top assistants such as Brian Shaw, even though having one of those young coaches grow with the young players has worked in places such as Oklahoma City with Scott Brooks.
Of the open coaching jobs Cleveland is one of the more appealing because they already have a franchise anchor star in Kyrie Irving plus they have a lot of cap space the next couple years (and some draft picks to add to the roster).
Brown and family are already rumored to be moving back to the Cleveland area, his eldest son has signed to play at Butler. And Brown could go back there with a job waiting for him.
Kevin Durant might have left the Thunder, in part, because he grew tired of playing with Russell Westbrook.
But does that mean nobody wants to play with Westbrook?
Presented with that claim, Oklahoma City center Enes Kanter refuted it strongly:
Of course, many players want to play with Russell Westbrook. He’s a great player and even better competitor. People want to be around someone so maniacal about winning and capable of delivering.
But there’s an obvious difference between Kanter and Durant. It’s much easier for a pick-and-roll big man than a superstar wing to play with Westbrook.
Westbrook tends to over-dribble, and he can be selfish. I’d understand Durant preferring a team with more ball movement like the Warriors.
Kanter doesn’t have the cachet to pick any team at any salary like Durant did. Of his options, Kanter is probably genuinely happy to play with Westbrook. And the Thunder should be happy to have Westbrook (as long as they do). His strengths far outweigh his flaws.
No scoring star seamlessly blend with each other. Even LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — close friends and one an elite passer — struggled to mesh early in their Heat days. It’s just hard when there’s one ball.
So, it’s unfair to kill Westbrook for this drawback to his game. Maybe he’d click better with another star who’s more aggressive than Durant. And it’s not even as if Westbrook and Durant failed together. Oklahoma City won a lot of games with those two.
Plenty of players would sign up to replace Durant as Westbrook’s partner in crime.
Amar’e Stoudemire — despite spending more time and having more success with the Suns — signed with the Knicks to retire.
Why not Phoenix?
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
Stoudemire was linked to the Suns last year, but a return never happened.
It didn’t make more sense now. Phoenix already has 15 players, the regular-season roster limit. John Jenkins and Alan Williams have unguaranteed deals, but why waive one for Stoudemire? The Suns are semi-rebuilding, and Tyson Chandler already serves as a veteran big.
There’s a reason Stoudemire retired rather then sign somewhere. Maybe nobody wanted him.
But it’s also only July, and teams are still filling out their rosters. If Stoudemire wants to keep playing, he might have opportunities later, especially after the trade deadline. He’s just 33. There’s now reason to believe his retirement won’t stick.
Derek Fisher is already stumping for his second head-coaching job.
Fisher has done plenty since retiring as a player — getting hired by the Knicks, getting fired by the Knicks and in between being attacked by Matt Barnes and finding another controversy about player relations.
All the while, Fisher counted against the cap for the Thunder, his last NBA team.
Oklahoma City finally renounced him to sign Alex Abrines.
Albert Nahmad of Heat Hoops:
This is one of my favorite salary-cap quirks, explained in further detail here.
These are becoming fewer and further between, because teams are using cap room more frequently as the salary cap skyrockets. Gone are the days of a team operating above the cap for a dozen straight years.
There’s also even less utility in old cap holds now that a player must have played the prior season for a team to be used in a sign-and-trade. (Not that these holds were useful except the rarest of occasions prior, anyway.)
Fisher’s quick transition from playing to coaching helped make this an exception, allowing this weird (and trivial) transaction.
Where will the NBA hold the 2017 All-Star game?
New Orleans? Probably.
New York/Brooklyn or Chicago? Maybe.
One more maybe: Las Vegas.
Scott Kusher of The Advocate:
The NBA held All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas in 2007. By all accounts, it was wild.
I’d be surprised if the league returned the event to Las Vegas, but at this point, I’d really be surprised by any option besides New Orleans.