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The Mike Brown era starts today in Gund Arena, when the Cavaliers introduce him as the 17th coach in franchise history.
"Mike Brown was our first choice and only choice to be the new head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers," team owner Dan Gilbert said in an e-mail to the Associated Press. "Mike has learned from the very best in the business. He is focused on the defensive end of the court, and I am highly confident he is exactly what the Cavaliers need to move our team to one of the very best in the NBA."
Acquaintances throughout the league have no problem agreeing with Gilbert.
Brown, 35, is considered a potent combination of youth and experience.
"He's been under some of the best coaches in this league," said Cavs forward Ira Newble, who played under Brown in San Antonio. "He was with great coaches like Gregg Popovich, Rick Carlisle and Bernie Bickerstaff. I know he's young, but his resume speaks for itself. Now, [Brown] is finally getting his turn. I'm glad he was passed over by the Atlanta Hawks [Brown interviewed with the Hawks last year]. And I'm sure he is."
Indiana Pacers President Donnie Walsh eagerly welcomed Brown back after the Hawks' contact, but is happy Brown now has his opportunity.
Brown will receive a deal worth about $10 million over four years.
"He's totally prepared for [a coaching position]," Walsh said. "Mike has the skill and the experience by being with San Antonio in a championship situation, and he experienced a 61-win season with us.
"We just finished the type of year where our coaches had to be ready for every situation. Mike has all of the qualities to become a good head coach."
Lance Blanks, director of scouting for the Spurs, worked with Brown in San Antonio. Blanks said Brown is exactly what the Cavs need - a coach with strong leadership qualities and a coach that puts the team before himself.
Blanks used the brawl between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers earlier this season as an example.
"That unfortunate incident captured who and what Mike is all about," Blanks said. "There's the video image that shows Mike in the stands pulling players away from fans. That epitomizes his work ethic and his willingness to do whatever it takes to get things done. Stepping into that kind of environment with disregard of self is pretty impressive, but that's Mike."
Blanks also said Brown's age should not be a factor. At 35, Brown, who has 13 years in the NBA, will be the second-youngest coach in the league.
we have had a tremendous amount of success against cleveland in the past....i think that might change from here on out...much like larry really wanted to beat the celtics and carlisle the pistons....we will probably have our work cut out against the cavs, now...