On Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers fired Byron Scott after three relatively miserable post-LeBron seasons. Scott was hired just before James took his talents to South Beach, and he was tasked with rebuilding a team that had just lost the best basketball player on the planet for virtually nothing in return. Over that span, the Cavs compiled a 64-166 record. To compare, the Miami Heat won 66 games this season alone. This is not how you keep your job.
Cleveland dropped 16 of its last 18 games to finish this season 24-58, and amid reports of a falling out between Scott and Kyrie Irving, owner Dan Gilbert had seen enough. He fired his head coach with one year remaining on his contract. When Scott spoke to reporters after being let go, he said he felt shafted.
“I’m disappointed, more than anything,” Scott told reporters about his firing. “I don’t think I got a fair shake.”
Maybe. The Cavaliers, after all, were breathtakingly bad after losing James, and no amount of coaching was going to prevent them from getting their asses beat down night after night after night. They had no talent. They couldn't stop anyone from scoring. Anderson Varejao, their best player after James, and expected to be a cornerstone of the rebuilding process, hadn't played more than 31 games in the three seasons since 2010. And Irving, the new face of the franchise and one of the best point guards in the league, missed 23 games this year. Looking at the organization through those lenses, 58 losses sounds about right.
But life's looking up for the Cavs these days. They have two top-20 draft picks this year and nearly $20 million in cap space to add a big name to a young core that includes Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson. Whoever coaches the team next year is probably going to inherit a more successful team. And according to ESPN, that next coach might be Scott's predecessor, Mike Brown.
Brown has had the fortune to coach Lebron James and the Cavaliers from 2005 to 2010 before moving onto coach the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011. He was fired this year after the Lakers started the season 1-4. Brown's reportedly moving his family from LA back to the Cleveland area to see his son play next year at Butler. Cavs general manager, Chris Grant refused to comment on Brown's hiring.
For his part, Irving seemed shocked and saddened when he heard about Scott, with whom Irving was close before their recent tiff.
“I feel like a piece of me is missing,” Irving said.
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