Is Firing Mike Brown Really the Right Move?
“The king goes as far as he may, not as far as he could.”
Basketball may be the hardest team sport to coordinate. Constantly, all players need to know where their teammates are located, and where they are going in order to successfully fool the defense. In order to avoid confusion, coaches develop plays, which helps all the players understand what their role is in the following moments. In a competitive league like the NBA, it is vital to have great coaching in order to consider a team competitive.
In an 82 game season, the coach is constantly involved with play calling, assigning player roles, and developing camaraderie throughout the team in order to develop good chemistry and fluidity. This is an extremely demanding job, and will continue to become more difficult as player’s egos continue to grow through attention from media outlets, large contracts, and large sponsorship deals. Despite these difficulties, coaches still manage to win 50 games a season, making these coaches some of the best in the league.
But then there are coaches who can help lead their teams to 60+ win seasons. Celebrated coaches like George Karl have achieved this once. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich lead his team to four NBA titles, and two 60 game seasons. But unlike these coaches, only three active coaches have done this on consecutive occasions; Two of them are obvious, Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson (who has done this four times in a row as the coach of the Chicago Bulls) and Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
The third active coach who did this was Mike Brown, coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even though he is a part of this exclusive club, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who is afraid King Lebron James (Who I’d like to say walked off the court giving Celtics fans high fives after showing no effort in the final minutes of the deciding game in their second round play off series AND still manages to call himself KING James) will leave if changes aren’t made, decided to fire him. Apparently Gilbert thinks he can find a coach who can better coach a self proclaimed King who consistently laughs and argues with Brown in huddles. This completely undermines Brown’s coaching ability, while Lebron goes out and continues to not get it done. If Dan Gilbert thinks he can find a better coach in order to make sure Lebron comes back to Cleveland, he is dreaming. Lebron will come back to the Cavs no matter when he finally realizes that he will leave $30 million dollars on the table if he leaves with another team. At this point, Dan Gilbert has completely surrendered his team to Lebron. He will do whatever Lebron wants in order to keep him. He will fire Mike Brown, he will acquire an aging Shaq, he will trade long time Cav Zydrunas Ilgauskas so they can get Antwan Jamison, and then resign Zydrunas 30 days later. If Dan Gilbert is willing to go this far for Lebron, then he should be willing to offer the coaching reigns to the one person who will make Cleveland so appealing to Lebron James: he will build the team to Lebron’s liking, build up Lebron’s ego to a point no other basketball player’s has ever reached, and call the plays Lebron likes. This coach is none other than Lebron James.
While this might seem outrageous, this has been done in the past. Lenny Wilkens was a player coach for the Seattle SuperSonics from 1968-71, and just a few years ago “retired” Michael Jordan traded Rip Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse, and then came out of retirement to play on the team he built. Do I support Lebron coaching/GMing this team? Absolutely not. But if Dan Gilbert doesn’t start building this team to contend for years to come rather than only worrying about the King, then this will essentially become Lebron’s team, where he calls the shots, and continues to break the hearts of Cleveland basketball fans when he fails to win a championship.