In the wake of Cleveland head coach Mike Brown's firing on Monday morning, the local media got to work right away, digging up reactions from Cavs players to the loss of their head honcho. Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Mo Williams, two of the team's respected veterans, were more than willing to give Brown their support.
Turns out, Brown has plenty of support outside of Cleveland as well.
"The guy was in Cleveland five years," said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy prior to tipoff of Game 4 of the East finals in Boston. "He went to the NBA Finals three years ago, he was the Coach of the Year a year ago, and he's had the best record in the league the last two years. So whether you agree with the firing or not, I think it is very fair to say that he got fired on the basis of three games. I think it would be very hard for anyone to argue with that."
As of Friday, May 7, Brown's Cavaliers were up 2-1 on the Celtics in the East semifinals, looking well on their way to a rematch with Van Gundy's Magic in the conference finals. But after collapsing down the stretch and losing Games 4, 5 and 6 to the men in green, the Cavs found their season suddenly over.
Just as suddenly, Brown found himself unemployed.
"I don't know what you have to do to keep your job," said Doc Rivers, whose Celtics knocked out the Cavs. "He's done as much as you can do — back-to-back 60 win seasons. So it's tough. Our profession is tough, and it just seems like it's getting tougher and tougher."
"I believe [earlier] today, when he was still an active coach, he had the highest winning percentage of any active coach," added Van Gundy. "I mean, I don't know how much more of a case you need to make for the guy."
Brown finishes his career in Cleveland with a career record of 272-138. He advanced to the second round of the playoffs in all five seasons with the Cavaliers — but of course, he never did win that elusive championship ring.