x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Coaching change afoot at the Cleveland Cavaliers?

The Cavaliers deny they are about to clean house, but signs say otherwise, writes Gregory Dole.

The future of Mike Brown, the Cavaliers' coach, could be up in the air.
The future of Mike Brown, the Cavaliers' coach, could be up in the air.

The Cleveland Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert, called a press conference on Friday, less than 24 hours after his team had been eliminated from the play-offs by the Boston Celtics. That morning, SI.com, the website of Sports Illustrated, led with a story that said "two league sources" said Mike Brown, the Cavaliers' coach, had been let go.

Addressing the assembled national media outlets, Gilbert denied he had fired Brown. The report "is not true", he said. "We are right now just going through the evaluation process, getting all the information, talking to Coach Brown, talking to GM Danny Ferry, talking to everybody and anybody. 

"You have to do that because, during the play-offs, you are not going to, as ownership, go in and start asking a thousand questions and getting in the way and that sort of stuff.

"Once it ends, you have got to go in and dig deep and ask all the questions you want to ask and then try to make a level-headed decision as to what to do after that going forward." While Gilbert did not say he would be looking for a new coach, his statement and body language could hardly be construed as a ringing endorsement of the incumbent Brown. As he spoke, Gilbert fidgeted and stared at the floor.

He did not seem happy at all, particularly when he mentioned the name of his current general manager, whom he had allowed to go out and spend a fortune in the quest for an NBA championship. Gilbert is no doubt frustrated. Two stellar regular-season campaigns by the Cavaliers ? they had the league's best record in both - had been punctuated by early exits from the play-offs. Brown also drew criticism for his ability to manage the team.

That night, SI.com published a new report that was essentially the same as the old one. The two alleged "league sources" maintain that Brown is going to be fired. They said Gilbert has made his decision, although he may not have informed Brown yet.