Brown, who led the Cavaliers to the playoffs in all five seasons he coached them from 2005-10 and was fired by the Lakers five games into this season, has agreed in principle to return as their coach for a second time, a person with knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
Brown’s hiring could be announced as early as Wednesday.
Brown went 272-138 and teamed with LeBron James on a run to the NBA Finals in 2007. He was fired by owner Dan Gilbert after the Cavaliers lost to Boston in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, shortly before James decided he was leaving Cleveland as a free agent. He coached the Lakers to a 41-25 record in 2011-12, reaching the Western Conference semifinals.
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The Lakers have been informed they would get “some” relief from the $6.5 million-$7 million they owe Brown over the next two years. It was unclear how much it would be, but it was not expected to the full amount.
The Cavaliers fired Byron Scott last week after his third consecutive losing season.
One of the main factors in Brown’s decision to come back to Cleveland was that he had already planned to move his family back to the area, long before Scott was fired. Brown is also close friends with Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant.
Brown met with Gilbert and Grant on Sunday in Detroit and negotiations intensified. Gilbert reached out to a few other high-profile coaches, including Phil Jackson. But Jackson had no interest and the search quickly zeroed in on Brown, who was the only candidate to be interviewed.
Phoenix reportedly reached out to Brown about its vacancy in recent days.
Bobcats fire Dunlap
Mike Dunlap is one and done with the Charlotte Bobcats, who fired Dunlap as coach after a single season.
The Bobcats went 21-61 under Dunlap, finishing with the second-worst record in the NBA, ahead of only the Orlando Magic. Charlotte won only seven games in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, but tripling last year’s victory total and a three-game winning streak to close the season weren’t enough to save Dunlap’s job.
Rod Higgins, the Bobcats’ president of basketball operations, said he and General Manager Rich Cho met with players and Dunlap before approaching owner Michael Jordan and asking him to make a coaching change.
“The change was allowed,” Higgins said.
Dunlap struggled at times with game management, transitioning from the college game to the NBA and handling professional athletes, often benching veteran players for weeks at a time after they’d irritated him in some way.
During one point in the season Dunlap feuded with veteran guard Ben Gordon during a practice, and his micromanaging approach didn’t always sit well with some of the more experienced players on the roster.
“I just don’t think he was a great fit,” Cho said. “Probably best that we go in a different direction.”
Dunlap was unavailable for comment.
Pacers‘ George is most improved
Indiana Pacers forward Paul George spent the past summer turning himself into a better player. Now he’s planning to dedicate himself to becoming the NBA’s best all-around player.
A few minutes after accepting the league’s most-improved-player award, the 6-foot-9 swingman promised to work even harder to attain the biggest rewards of all — an NBA title and perhaps an MVP.
“I think I can play at an MVP level. I think that’s very much within reach,” said George, who went from averaging 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in 2011-12 to 17.4 and 7.6 this season. “For me, it’s all about being consistent and having that aggressive mind-set.”
George received 52 of 120 first-place votes and 311 points, more than double the total of New Orleans’ Greivis Vasquez, who had 13 first-place votes and 146 points. Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders was third with 141 points.