CLEVELAND — Mike Brown’s second shot with the Cavaliers lasted one season.
Brown was fired Monday for the second time in four years by owner Dan Gilbert, who last April brought back the only coach to get the Cavs to the NBA finals but then dismissed him after the team failed to make the playoffs.
The Cavs went 33-49 under Brown, who had four years remaining on his contract. Brown was fired last year by the Los Angeles Lakers just five games into his second season.
“This is a very tough business,” Gilbert said in a statement. “It pains all of us here that we needed to make the difficult decision of releasing Mike Brown. Mike worked hard over this last season to move our team in the right direction. Although, there was some progress from our finish over the few prior seasons, we believe we need to head in a different direction. We wish Mike and his family nothing but the best.”
Gilbert also said David Griffin would be retained as general manager. Griffin had been the interim GM since Feb. 6, when Gilbert fired Chris Grant.
Just a year ago, Gilbert admitted he made a mistake in firing Brown the first time.
Now he’s done it again.
Brown was let go in 2010 after the Cavs failed to advance past the Eastern Conference semifinals. At the time, it appeared Gilbert was making the move — and hiring Byron Scott as coach — to appease superstar LeBron James and keep him in Cleveland. James though, decided to leave as a free agent for Miami.
The Cavs improved defensively under Brown, moving from last in the league in field goal percentage to 12th. But the offense was a continued work in progress and the Cavs didn’t make a late playoff push despite a favorable schedule down the stretch.
Brown seemed resigned to his fate following the season finale, when he said he would support whatever decision Gilbert made about him.
“It’s his team,” Brown said.
Cleveland went 17-16 after Griffin took over as GM, but the club finished 10th in the weaker Eastern Conference and failed to make the postseason despite Gilbert’s pledge the club would qualify.
Gilbert said he interviewed several other candidates before deciding to give Griffin the full-time gig.
“We chose David as our GM because we believe he is the best person to lead our franchise at this critical time and into the future,” Gilbert said. David brings over two decades of experience. He knows the ins and outs of this league as well as anyone and is also an outstanding talent evaluator.”
The Cavaliers plan to hold a news conference Tuesday at the team’s facility.
Gilbert had high praise for Griffin, who previously worked in Phoenix’s front office before coming to Cleveland.
“He is a general manager who is aligned with our culture and philosophy which is the foundation of how we do business,” Gilbert said. “David is not only passionate about his own job but also cares deeply about the success of everyone around him. His presence alone creates an infectious positive environment with players, coaches, front office people and even our fan base. We already saw some progress in the short time David led our basketball side in the latter part of this past season. Clearly, we have substantial work ahead of us and I am confident that Griff will play an essential part of the growth and success of our organization.”
While the Cavs showed signs of progress with Brown, he was unable to get one of the league’s youngest teams to play consistently. There were also some personality conflicts between All-Star guard Kyrie Irving and backcourt mate Dion Waiters. Although the two claimed to get along, there was little harmony on the floor.
The Cavs enter an important summer in which they are expected to be active in free agency and can offer Irving a maximum contract extension.