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Cavs Cavs Archive Stop the Coaching Carousel, We Would Like to Get Off
Written by Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore

2013 cavs byron firedThe Cleveland Cavaliers made the speculation that has surrounded the team for the past few weeks reality on Thursday, firing head coach Byron Scott.

Scott was “released” from his duties in Cleveland (the team’s word) after compiling a record of 64-166 and successfully guiding the team into the NBA lottery for three consecutive years.

In other words, Scott did what he was ostensibly hired to do.

We really don’t know what to say at this point. We started writing a sports blog in March of 2010 and in the past three years:

Just since September, every pro team in town has fired its manager or head coach, leaving current Tribe manager Terry Francona, who was managing his 14th game with the Tribe on Thursday night, as the most-tenured manager or coach of Cleveland’s three sports team.

Even for Cleveland, a town where we like nothing more than firing managers and rooting for backup quarterbacks, this is getting out of hand.

In announcing the move, Cavs general manager Chris Grant cited the team’s increasingly poor showing on the defensive end of the court. The Cavs never ranked higher than 27th in the NBA in defense under Scott (there are only 30 teams in the league) and opposing teams shots .475, .467 and .476 against the Cavs over the past three seasons.

“We were one of the worst defensive teams this year,” Grant said. “We’ve got to get better at that.”

Owner Dan Gilbert also played the defense card.

“Although we saw progress with young individual player development, we did not see the kind of progress we expected on the team level this past season,” Gilbert said in a press release. “We understand it was challenging with the injuries, but when you are at our stage in the building process, you don't only measure team progress in wins and losses.

“It has been our strong and stated belief that when our team once again returns to competing at the NBA's highest levels it will be because we have achieved our goals on the defensive side of the court.”

So Gilbert wants a coach who will emphasize defense, but three years ago he fired Mike Brown – who is known for being a defensive coach.

Yeah, we don’t know either.

Now the Cavs will be looking for their third head coach since Gilbert took over as owner late in the 2004-05 season and their sixth since 2000. That’s not really a good thing (just ask the Browns).

“Moving forward we’ll look for someone with proven success and look for somebody who is strong defensively with proven systems,” Grant said of the search for a new coach. “We’ll look for somebody who is a teacher. We’ll look for somebody who is a grinder and a worker.

“It’s our priority. We’ll start working on it today and first thing in the morning and try to make as much progress as we possibly can.”  

So, to sum it up, the Cavs are looking for a successful coach (hard to find an unemployed one unless it's Phil Jackson), a strong defensive coach (Stan Van Gundy? Mike Brown?) who is a gringer (the NBA equivalent of former Indians manager Eric Wedge) and the team will work on it at least until quitting time on Friday. (Hey, Grant didn’t say anything about weekend work.)

For what it is worth, Brown said he would at least answer the phone if Grant placed a call.

"If they call, I wouldn't hang up the phone," Brown told The Plain Dealer. "I'd definitely listen to what anybody has to say. But then you have to decide if it's the right situation for myself, my family and the organization.''

While it is hard to say the Cavs were wrong to fire Scott based on his record, as we’ve long known in this town firing the coach is the easy part. Finding a replacement who is considerably better has proven to be far trickier.

Let’s say, on a rating of 1 to 10, Scott was a 5. Unless the next coach is an 8 or a 9, what’s the point? Bringing in a coach who can just make the Cavs good enough to be a No. 8 seed and lose in the first round of the playoffs isn’t going to get it done.

And unless the new coach is going to bring in the training staff from Phoenix, which seems to be able to work some serious desert mojo when it comes to fixing broken down players, he is still going to have to deal with the fact that Anderson Varajeo and, most likely, Kyrie Irving are incapable of playing a full NBA season.

Whatever. We’re too tired and we just want to get off the coaching carousel for a while.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

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