Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Brown and Brown, part 2

From reports in The Plain Dealer and ESPN Monday and today, it appears the Cavaliers might have their Browns.
Last night, ESPN reported Pacers assistant Mike Brown has agreed verbally to a four-year deal worth around $10 million to become the Cavs new head coach. If the story is true, it would be Mike Brown's first NBA head coaching job.
Mike Brown isn't what the average fan was salivating for. Most fans wanted Flip Saunders because of the local-native connection. But Mike Brown looks like a solid hire, a top assistant from a perennially-winning organization. However, Mike Brown's coronation might very well be overshadowed by the hiring of his new boss.
The Plain Dealer and ESPN both reported today that Pistons coach Larry Brown has accepted an offer from owner Dan Gilbert to become the Cavs new president once Detroit's season ends. For his part, Brown will almost certainly remain mum on his future until after the season. The Pistons currently trail Miami 2-1 in the Eastern Conference finals, with Game 4 tonight in Detroit.
On SportsCenter this morning, ESPN pro basketball reporter Chad Ford cautioned Clevelanders against getting too attached to the idea of Larry Brown as the team's new boss. The Lakers and Knicks still don't have coaches, and Larry Brown has been on the record professing his desire to coach in New York. There is still time for another opportunity to catch Brown's notoriously-wandering eyes.
The one thing that could make the Cavs' offer more attractive than the Lakers or Knicks is power. Brown would get a chance to prove his mettle as a basketball executive in Cleveland. In New York and Los Angeles, he'd be answering to Isiah Thomas and Mitch Kupchak, respectively.
Cleveland offers LeBron James to any front-office brain trust. LeBron by himself doesn't turn Cleveland into an NBA Mecca, but building around a superstar with an unselfish, positive attitude, maturity beyond his years and no apparent prima donna tendencies whatsoever is far better than having to build a team around Kobe Bryant or Stephon Marbury, either of whom needs to have their own stat sheets and egos satisfied before they look to their teammates.
If Larry Brown does become the new president of the Cavs, he would most likely hire a general manager to work under him. Former Cav Danny Ferry has been mentioned among the candidates.
(Before you choke on your Cheetos, don't judge Ferry as an executive based on Ferry as a player. Ferry is smart, even if he couldn't put the ball on the floor. Above all, he's spent the past several seasons working in the front office of the San Antonio Spurs, which should at least tie the New England Patriots as the best organization in pro sports. Half the battle of running a sports franchise is learning how to do things the right way.)
Having both a president and a general manager might become a case of too many chiefs at the top, but if responsibilities are defined and separated from the outset, and those in control are willing to listen to each other instead of trying to circumvent their workmates, a front office can build a system that works.
And a system is what the Cavs should be trying to build, remember?


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