In losing Brown we lose our defensive coach, that does not concern me. Kevin O'Neill will step up and do just fine.
It is the communication thing that worries me. Seems Like Rick realizes that
While I don't think Johnny Davis is a good head coach, he'd be fine as an assistant
Brown agrees to Cavs' deal
Former Pacers assistant coach to get $9 million, 4-year contract.
By Mike Wells
Indiana Pacers associate head coach Mike Brown is going from coaching one high-school-to-the-NBA all-star (Jermaine O'Neal) to coaching another one in the same division.
Brown has agreed to a four-year deal reportedly worth about $9 million to coach LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. A news conference is expected later this week.
"He's got the whole package and he's been great for our franchise," Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said. "There's no doubt in my mind he was the perfect pick for Cleveland and LeBron James. He's technically sound and he's close with the players; that makes a great coach. This is the start of a good coaching career. In our franchise, we like to see our people get opportunities elsewhere if they can't get them here."
Brown, 35, will become the second youngest coach in the NBA after New Jersey's Lawrence Frank.
Brown, who declined comment Monday, has worked under some of the top coaches in the NBA. He was Pacers coach Rick Carlisle's top assistant the past two seasons where he was in charge of the team's defense. He spent three seasons in San Antonio with Gregg Popovich, winning an NBA title in 2003. Brown also worked in Washington and Denver.
"When you have a great assistant, you know he's going to leave sooner or later," Carlisle said. "Mike did a great job in the aspect of the defense and he had a great relationship with the players. It's a big loss for us."
Getting the chance to coach James, one of the league's top players, makes up for Brown missing out on jobs last summer in Atlanta and Toronto, two of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavaliers finished 42-40 last season, losing a tiebreaker with New Jersey for the final playoff spot in the East.
With the possibility of Brown leaving once the Pacers' season ended almost two weeks ago, Carlisle has already put together a list of candidates to replace Brown on the bench.
Carlisle wouldn't reveal any names, but there's a possibility that current assistant Kevin O'Neill could become the team's top assistant. Two other possible candidates include Cavaliers assistant coach Kenny Natt and former Orlando head coach Johnny Davis.
"I've got some in mind, but there's no timetable on when we're going to get it done," Carlisle said. "Donnie and (Pacers president) Larry (Bird) have to talk to whoever it is and get to know him and get comfortable with him."
The Pacers aren't only dealing with the loss of Brown's basketball knowledge. They also have to replace someone who was close to the players, in particular Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson. Brown was the one who often kept the players calm when things got testy during games.
"It's going to be tough because Mike is a hard guy to replace," Carlisle said. "One of the many reasons he got the (Cleveland) job is because of his ability to communicate. That's a strength of his."
Call Star reporter Mike Wells at (317) 444-6053.