Kyrie Irving Was Not Consulted on Cleveland Cavaliers Firing Mike Brown

Grant Hughes@@gt_hughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 13, 2014

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving (2) talks with head coach Mike Brown in an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Bobcats Saturday, April 5, 2014, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Mark Duncan/Associated Press

The ax fell on Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown (again), and newly installed general manager David Griffin would like you to know that Kyrie Irving wasn't the one who swung it.

Per Mary Scmitt Boyer of Cleveland's The Plain Dealer, Griffin said:

Any—any—insinuation that Kyrie had anything to do with this decision is patently false. It's unfair. He was not counseled on this decision, nor was he counseled on the previous coaching decision. It's a completely unfair assertion and one that I want everyone to understand very clearly. That is not a narrative that we are going to go with.

On the one hand, Griffin is doing Irving a favor by publicly distancing him from blame. No player wants a coach-killer label under any circumstances, and Irving may appreciate the front office taking the heat for a fairly rash decision.

Remember, Brown signed a five-year deal with the Cavs last year and will collect the remaining $12 million he's owed from his couch. Paying Brown not to coach the Cavaliers is bad enough, but it's worse when everybody questioned the wisdom of bringing him back for a second tour of duty in the first place.

At the same time, it's telling that Griffin was so adamant about Irving's lack of involvement. His tone was strong, perhaps indicating an organizational desire to project strength during a highly unstable time.

Uncredited/Associated Press

It makes sense for a team engaging in yet another coaching search to send the message that no player will determine the fate of the next man in line for the job.

Realistically, though, it's hard to imagine the franchise's best player had nothing to do with a decision this significant. And if the Cavaliers are serious about retaining Irving, who had to face down constant rumors of his intention to escape Cleveland as a free agent all season long, maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if he'd gotten to put his two cents in on Brown.

For what it's worth, Irving was outwardly supportive of his coach throughout the season.

Irving can become a free agent after next season if he decides not to sign Cleveland's $9 million qualifying offer. So while he may not have been consulted on Brown's firing, he'd better be given a chance to put in a word or two on the next guy the Cavs hire.

If he's left out of the loop again, it could indicate the Cavaliers are preparing to live life without Irving as the central focus of their plans.

In other words, it's business as usual in Cleveland: Nobody knows what the future holds.