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Firing Mike Brown in 2009 reportedly could have helped Cavs keep LeBron James

Throughout his time in Cleveland, there were always rumors that LeBron James did not get along well with then-head coach Mike Brown. That seems to be the case anytime a team has several chances to win a championship and comes up short. If you ask Shaq, he’ll tell you LeBron never wanted to listen to Brown while he was playing under him. With that in mind, you have to wonder if Cleveland would have had a better chance of retaining LeBron if they got rid of Brown sooner.

During a recent interview with Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports, former Cleveland Plain Dealer and current ESPN.com writer Brian Windhorst said he believes King James would have considered staying if Brown was fired a season earlier. Windhorst said LeBron really wanted him gone following the 2008-2009 season.

“That was the year that Mike Brown won coach of the year,” Windhorst said according to Waiting for Next Year. “And LeBron was pretty much done with him then.” Windhorst went further still. “Someone really close to LeBron once told me, ‘Ya know if they’d fired Mike Brown one year early, he might still be in Cleveland.’”

I’m not buying it. The Cavs won 66 games during the 2008-2009 season and Brown was named Coach of the Year. LeBron may have wanted him gone, but Cleveland’s hands were tied with those results. After the Cavs lost to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semis in 2010, Brown was fired. That was more than a month before “The Decision,” so obviously LeBron knew he could essentially chose his head coach if he remained in Cleveland. If he was holding a grudge because the Cavs didn’t do what he wanted when he wanted it done, LeBron is more immature than I thought he was.

Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE



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  • Gene

    LeBron left because no free agents wanted to go to Cleveland.  He was trying to get Bosh there a few days before his misguided “decision” program.  Bosh said unequivocally he would not go to Cleveland.  Nob ody can win without good support and Cleveland management could not bring in any good sidekicks for LeBron.

    If you think a player can win by himself check Kobe’s Lakers record between Shaq’s departure and Gasol’s arrival.  It was pretty mediocre and included a monumental lack of effort in game 7 of the playoffs against the suns.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mohammed.savage Mohammed Savage

    I concur, I also believe King James departure from Cleveland had
    very little to do with Mike Brown. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ON2Q3PFLNA6D7X45KFWMIQOTVY Eric Z

     They were overpaying role players which made it difficult to move anybody as well. It was clear the team wasn’t managed well when they were in the top five for attendance many years in a row but didn’t take advantage of it from a player/personnel perspective.

  • Gene

     Right on, Eric. I totally agree.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    Mike Brown being the wrong coach was just one of many problems Cleveland had. Their front office didn’t do a good enough job building around James either, and because no free agent wants to go to Cleveland, LeBron left. This was just one factor.