October 21, 2014

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Cavs to hire Mike Brown — again — as head coach

INDEPENDENCE — The 19th head coach in Cavaliers history will be the same man who was the 17th head coach.

Numerous reports Tuesday afternoon said the Cavs have reached an agreement with Mike Brown, with a formal announcement expected to come as early as Wednesday.

Brown reportedly received a five-year deal — some reports said the last year was a team option — worth more than $20 million.

Brown, 43, coached the Cavs for five seasons from 2005-10. Cleveland made the postseason and won at least one playoff series each year, including reaching the NBA Finals in 2007.

Brown was named NBA Coach of the Year after the 2008-09 regular season, when the Cavs won a franchise-record 66 games but lost to Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals.

Cleveland also won 61 games under Brown in 2009-10, but lost to Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Superstar small forward LeBron James complained of a sore elbow in that series, after which Brown was fired. The Cavs then hired Byron Scott, who was fired Thursday after three seasons, but James spurned Cleveland in free agency to play for the Miami Heat.

James can opt out of his contract with Miami in July 2014 and has said he’s open to playing for the Cavs again someday. Though he and Brown didn’t part under the greatest of terms, they got along well for five years and appear to have a high level of respect for one another.

Brown also coached the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011-12 and 2012-13, but was first just five games into this season.

Brown’s lifetime record is 314-167, the sixth-highest winning percentage (.653) in NBA history for someone who has coached at least 450 games. Brown was 272-138 with the Cavs (.663).

A defensive-minded coach, Brown reportedly had other head coaching offers — it is believed Philadelphia was very interested — but chose Cleveland in part because his family loves the Northeast Ohio area.

Brown, who attended the University of San Diego with current Cavs general manager Chris Grant, is expected to live in Westlake. His oldest son Elijah, who attended St. Edward before Brown took the Lakers job, will be a freshman basketball player at Butler next season.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.