As a rule, relighting the flame with one ex extinguishes the hopes of reuniting with another ex.
That’s how it goes; you can’t have it all.
The Cavaliers’ move to sign Brown is clear evidence they’re moving on, hitching that Kyrie Irving-led wagon to Brown.
As they should.
The thing with exes is, as they say, you only remember the good times. And Brown gave five good years for the Cavaliers, compiling a record of 272-138 (.663); that’s 54 wins per season. He took the franchise to its only trip to the Finals in 2007, and he won Coach of the Year in 2009.
He did all that with James. But that doesn’t mean a reunion is desired by either side.
James has the option to opt out of his Miami contract following the 2013-14 season, and the thought was invented that he might entertain a return to Cleveland.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski wrote:
"It is a fact James' agent, Rich Paul, has eagerly created anticipation for James' possible return in 2014, but eventually his client will have to spare himself the pummeling of raising Northeast Ohio's hopes, only to dash them under closer inspection of the move."
There’s little reason for James to return to the Cavaliers and Dan Gilbert’s letter writing. Irving is a special talent, but he’s not as special as what James has created in South Beach.
Replacing Byron Scott with Brown doesn’t offer added incentive to James, who wasn’t a fan of his coach in his final days with Cleveland.
Does Mike Brown's hiring in Cleveland help or hurt the Cavaliers' chances of bringing back LeBron James?
“I’m happy for him, very happy for him,” James said, as reported by the Palm Beach Post. “I think he’s a really good coach, a very defensive-minded coach. It will be good for those young guys they have.”
For those young guys. Not for James.
When asked if he’d reach out to Brown, James went with the classic line guys always give their exes: “I don’t have no phone right now.”
ESPN reporter Chris Broussard tweeted that Brown’s return won’t have an affect either way on whether or not James returns to Cleveland.
Mike Brown's presence in Cleveland will not be deterrent to LeBron if LJ decides he wants to return.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) April 23, 2013
But c’mon. Really?
The Cavaliers did everything they could for James. They brought in Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison and moved expiring contracts to sign Shaquille O'Neal. Then they fired Brown.
Brown was the winningest coach in franchise history, and he was let go as coach after the 2009-10 season, the same summer that James would decide whether or not to return to Cleveland.
If they didn't think it would entice James to return to the Cavs, do you think they would have changed coaches?
Jeff Seeman wrote for Fox Sports Ohio in May 2010:
The Cavs simply made another "keep LeBron happy" move when they fired Brown. Brown was part of the rise of this team, but it was apparent that he had taken them as far as he could. It'd be a wise move to search for a new coach who can take them to the next level. But ultimately, this move was made first and foremost for LeBron James.
Mike Brown about to officially become the guy LeBron James will have the power to get fired not once but twice, if he so chooses.— Bill Reiter (@foxsportsreiter) April 24, 2013
Certainly Brown would welcome the greatest player on the planet, but maybe it’s easier to run the show his way, by building up team defense and developing Cleveland’s young core.
In that Wojnarowski piece, a former Cavaliers staffer was quoted: "The way Mike had to bend for LeBron weakened him as a leader. They'd be crazy to put him through that again. It's pointless."
Ultimately, two things are true:
- If the Cavaliers truly feel they have a realistic shot at James after next season, they would not have hired back Brown.
- The Cavaliers have moved on; they are not prioritizing romantic hopes of bringing back James.
Exes have reunited in Brown and Cleveland, and it could be the right fit, but bringing in James would just create another nasty love triangle.