LeBron James has had several different head coaches throughout the years. He has been coached by the likes of Tyronn Lue, Erik Spoelstra, and Paul Silas. However, a coach that James had early in his career could be getting a new gig soon. That coach is Mike Brown, who led James on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2005-06 through 2009-10.
Mike Brown led LeBron James and the Cavaliers to a lot of success
Paul Silas led LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in James’ first two seasons in the NBA in 2003-04 and 2004-05. The Cavaliers did not make the playoffs in either of those seasons.
Mike Brown, however, then became the head coach of the Cavaliers in 2005-06, and he helped James and the team have a lot of success. They ultimately reached the playoffs in Brown’s first season with the team, as they went to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Then in his second season in 2006-07, the Cavaliers went to the NBA Finals.
The Cavaliers then went to the Eastern Conference Semifinals two of the next three seasons, and the Eastern Conference Finals the other season. James, however, left Cleveland after 2009-10, and the Cavaliers and Brown parted ways.
During those years under Brown, James averaged 29.4 points per game, 7.3 rebounds, and 7.1 assists. He led the NBA in points per game in one of those seasons, and he ultimately won back-to-back MVPs in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
Mike Brown is reportedly interviewing for the Knicks’ head coaching job
After those years with LeBron James and the Cavaliers, Brown was the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011-12 and for five games in 2012-13. The Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant, reached the Western Conference Semifinals in 2011-12.
Brown also went back and coached a James-less Cavaliers team in 2013-14, but they only went 33-49. He is now the associate head coach for the Golden State Warriors and has been on Steve Kerr’s staff there since 2016-17.
However, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Monday that the New York Knicks are interviewing Brown for their head coaching job. The Knicks fired head coach David Fizdale earlier this season when the Knicks started the year 4-18. Brown has not been a head coach since his one season back with the Cavaliers in 2013-14.
The Knicks have been a horrendous team for years
If Brown does become the head coach of the Knicks, turning that team around will be a very difficult task. The Knicks have not been good for the majority of the last two decades.
Since 2001-02, the Knicks have only been to the playoffs four times, and past the First Round just once. They have also missed the playoffs each of the last seven seasons and have had losing records in each of those seasons. The Knicks have also had four different head coaches and two interim head coaches during those seven seasons.
This year before the NBA suspended play, the Knicks were 21-45.
However, if Brown were to get the job, he would have some pieces to work with. Julius Randle’s contract lasts through 2021-22, according to Spotrac, and he averaged 19.5 points per game this year to go with 9.7 rebounds. Rookie RJ Barrett also averaged 14.3 points per game and five rebounds this season. Additionally, with the team being 21-45, they will most likely have a top draft pick again this year too.
It is unclear how interested both sides are, but if Mike Brown is the next head coach of the Knicks, it will be interesting to see how quickly he can turn things around. He won’t have LeBron James (or Kobe Bryant) there to help him this time, though.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference