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LeBron James: Mike Brown Got 'The Short End of a Tough Business'

Mar 30, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown reacts during a game against the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland won 90-76. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 13, 2014

Mike Brown is now part of a large group of unemployed NBA coaches looking for work, and one of his former players can't help but sympathize with him. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers announced that new general manager David Griffin, formerly the interim GM, would not be retaining the services of the coach who led the team to a 33-49 record in 2013-14, and owner Dan Gilbert had this to say on the decision: 

This is a very tough business. It pains all of us here that we needed to make the difficult decision of releasing Mike Brown. Mike worked hard over this last season to move our team in the right direction. Although, there was some progress from our finish over the few prior seasons, we believe we need to head in a different direction.

Now it's rare that you'll see Gilbert and LeBron James agreeing on anything after their bitter divorce a handful of summers ago, but they shared similar sentiments on the Brown firing. 

Here's LeBron: 

Remember, King James was the superstar who developed under Brown's tutelage during his last stint with the Cavs. The coach was fired at the end of that tenure as well, so it's not difficult to see where this sympathy is coming from. 

Brown, according to ESPN Stats & Information, is both the owner of the best win percentage in franchise history and the only man to steer Cleveland into the NBA Finals. But why?

Mostly LeBron. But not all LeBron. 

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 21: LeBron James #23 & Head Coach Mike Brown of the Cleveland Cavaliers look down the court during game against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 21, 2009 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressl
David Dow/Getty Images

As R. Cory Smith wrote for Bleacher Report: "OK, so most of those wins came with LeBron James leading the charge. But he also had a team that bought into his philosophy of defense-first basketball."

After all, Brown did win Coach of the Year in 2009. 

Even if they parted ways years ago, it shouldn't be at all surprising that LeBron—now in a fantastic situation with the Miami Heat—feels for his former coach. Brown did more than lead him to victories.

While Paul Silas and Brendan Malone coached LBJ during his first two seasons in the Association, Brown stuck with him throughout his formative years and helped him develop into an unquestioned superstar. 

They've shared a lot throughout their times in the league, and maybe they'll have one more thing in common this summer—a chance to hit the open market. Seeing as LeBron can opt out of his contract with Miami and become a free agent, they could both test the waters and scout out some new locations to ply their respective trades. 

Difference is, while it won't be hard for LeBron to find work, it'll be awfully tough for Brown to find another head coaching gig after getting the boot from Cleveland and the Los Angeles Lakers in successive seasons. 

Tough business, indeed. 

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