Nearly three years after he was fired as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and after a ballyhooed blowout as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers that ended earlier this season, Mike Brown is close to a return to the shores of Lake Erie.
Per TNT analyst David Aldridge:
Brown, the most successful coach in the history of the Cavs, was fired in May of 2010 after failing to win a championship in five years with superstar LeBron James. In his last two seasons in Cleveland, Brown coaxed the Cavs to the best record in the NBA.
The regular-season winning, though, didn’t translate to the playoffs, where the Cavs flamed out spectacularly in 2009 and 2010. Cleveland had a 2-1 lead over the Celtics in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals before losing three straight, including the final two at home by a combined 50 points. Free-agent James left for Miami that summer.
Brown was hired to take over for Phil Jackson with the Lakers in 2011-12 and led L.A. to 41 wins in a lockout-shortened 66-game season. The Lakers were swamped by the Oklahoma City Thunder, though, in the Western Conference semifinals.
The Lakers dumped Brown, long known as a defense-first coach, after a 1-4 start this season, opting to go with the up-tempo stylings of coach Mike D’Antoni. Brown reportedly has some $6 million left on his contract with the Lakers. Early reports have him negotiating a five-year deal with Cleveland for somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million.