4 Coaches Who Could Replace Mike Brown This Offseason
As Mike Brown draws closer to failing to deliver on Dan Gilbert's preseason promise of "playoffs or bust," Brown may also be drawing nearer to becoming the second head coach in Cleveland fired after one season this year.
Let's face it: Brown was never the guy. He has never been the guy. And he never will be the guy.
Just as he was incapable of coaching the LeBron James-led Cavaliers to an NBA title in his first stint with the team, Brown has proven himself incapable of leading a team full of the young and talented.
For a coach who was brought to Lake Erie to shore up a sputter defense, Brown has seen the defense of his superstar Kyrie Irving regress this season and it is becoming increasingly clear that this team will not perform under his guidance.
The Cavs must act fast.
With the clock ticking away on Irving's chance to join his friend James as another superstar to leave Cleveland, the Cavaliers' hopes of following the blueprint set out by the Oklahoma City Thunder are dwindling. Either way, Gilbert has one more shot at finding the right guy to lead this team before he is forced into another total rebuild.
The following slides are a list of four individuals whose mere presence in Cleveland might just be the boost they need back into the playoff picture.
It is not often a coach with 478 career wins and a .514 winning percentage becomes a viable option on the open market, but Nate McMillan offers just that.
He is a seasoned head coach who has put together three 50-plus win seasons in the NBA whose misfortunes in Portland led to his dismissal in 2012. McMillan ran into one of the most storied injury bugs in league history while with the Trail Blazers; from No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden to the next big thing Brandon Roy, every time he turned around someone else was getting injured.
McMillan does not make the cut as one of the top potential coaching candidates because he is not necessarily a good fit for a team set up to run a fast-paced offense. He is a notorious disciplinarian and his deliberate offensive style, however, could intrigue management because it may help slow the Cavaliers down, creating more high-percentage shots for guys such as Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.
His experience with Team USA in two gold medal Olympics victories in 2009 and 2012, too, may have introduced a more well-rounded offensive approach and his familiarity with Irving could allow the All-Star MVP to take the next step toward superstardom.
McMillan undoubtedly has that burning competitiveness and the desire to turn around a franchise. He just needs to land somewhere where every difference-maker isn’t destined to be in a sling.
Though, that might just be the problem in Cleveland.
Stan Van Gundy
Stan Van Gundy on the Cavaliers bench is an intriguing prospect.
Cleveland could employ Van Gundy, the same tactician whose 2009 Orlando Magic team toppled the Cavaliers in one of the most painful losses in recent Cavs playoff history.
Possibly the league’s best in-game coach, Van Gundy has the ability to mold a system to the talent on hand better than most coaches throughout the league. There are few job situations where he does not make sense, but the Cavaliers have some intriguing personnel with which to play.
He is near the top of every available coaches list. He is notoriously tough on players and is brutally honest in the media, but Dan Gilbert would be hard-pressed to find a better captain for the Cavs sideline.
The problem for Cleveland, though, is that Van Gundy has made it clear he prefers to coach in a warm-weather city. With seemingly six months left of winter on Lake Erie, Cleveland very likely does not fit that bill.
At any rate, Van Gundy will likely require a huge salary to return to the bench. And Gilbert might just be the guy to give it to him.
After the rehiring of Mike Brown, the Cavaliers might just be in search of another coach to make his return to the Cavaliers sideline.
Karl, who coached the Cavs from 1984 to 1986, is most known for his work with the Denver Nuggets. It is not often you see the reigning Coach of the Year handed his dismissal along with the award, but that is what happened to Karl after last season.
While the Nuggets moved on from Karl, it does not seem is if Karl is ready to move on from coaching.
As he made clear on The Locker Room, a radio program by Gary Miller, Karl sets up his offense to get to the rim for high-percentage shot attempts and for setting up open three-point attempts. There aren’t many guards in the league better at getting to the rim than All-Star game MVP Kyrie Irving, making Karl a perfect fit for the Cavaliers.
Steve Kerr is one of the few individuals in NBA history who has done it all.
He has been an NBA champion. Five times. He has been an NBA general manager. And for the last four seasons, he has been an NBA broadcaster with TNT.
Now, he wants to be an NBA head coach.
Based upon the quality of his broadcasts for TNT, Kerr is an incredibly intelligent basketball mind. While he is rumored to be a potential candidate for the New York Knicks soon-to-be vacancy due to his relationship with Knicks president Phil Jackson, there may be some hesitation in giving Kerr such a high-profile job for his first.
Either way, the Knicks are a team destined for failure. Where New York is a team without a draft pick and with limited cap space, the Cleveland Cavaliers have the resources necessary to build a contender.
If he is destined to join the Cavs, Kerr would likely command substantial power and the ability to build his own roster. The firing of former general manager Chris Grant in February creates a situation wherein Kerr could be hired to captain the team and be the last voice on all player personnel decisions.
It is not a far-fetched idea. Kerr is a proven winner.
He has played under two of the most successful coaches in NBA history—Jackson and Gregg Popovich. Without having seen Kerr as a coach, it is difficult to measure the style of play he prefers. However, his time in San Antonio alongside Tony Parker might suggest he is not uncomfortable leading an offense with a scoring point guard.
The Cavaliers need to be reenergized by a young mind. They need a coach with the knowledge base and demeanor to mentor young players. And they need a champion if they are to take that step forward in 2015.
Kerr is the perfect fit.