Report: Mike Brown moving near front of line for Clippers coaching job

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If you’re going to fire a respected coach on a contending team, your next move has to be a smart one. Steve Kerr or Nick Nurse smart.

The Clippers fired Glenn “Doc” Rivers — he was unemployed for all of 72 hours — and are now seriously considering former Cavaliers and Lakers coach Mike Brown, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times.

Is Brown an innovative upgrade from Rivers?

Brown — currently the lead assistant to Kerr in Golden State — is respected by players around the league and he compiled a 347-216 (61.6%) coaching record. He’s coached a LeBron James Cavaliers team to the Finals. He is a solid, smart NBA coach. Whether he is an upgrade for this particular job is a different question.

As noted by Stein, sources around the league have thought Tyronn Lue would most likely end up as the next Clippers coach, he has won a ring as a coach and was Rivers’ lead assistant last year. Lue also has other options (whether Houston’s ownership is willing to pay Lue’s going rate is up for debate, but they are talking).

This is a Clippers team led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George that should be a contender on paper. However, injuries and load management kept them from gelling before the hiatus. Players missed time in the bubble together for various reasons, and it all caught up to them as the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead and were eliminated by the Nuggets in the second round.

Led by a strong push from owner Steve Ballmer. Rivers was let go in the wake of that disappointing finish. But if you’re going to fire a respected coach on a contending team, your next move has to be a smart one.