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Cavs hire Pacers' assistant as team's new head coach

Brown looks to get Cleveland back to postseason



CLEVELAND -- Mike Brown, a 13-year NBA assistant with a league title on his resume, has been hired as the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team said Wednesday.

The 35-year-old Brown spent the past two years as Rick Carlisle's top assistant in Indiana, where he was credited with improving the Pacers' defense and developing Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson.

Brown's challenge in his first head coaching job will be getting star forward LeBron James and the Cavaliers back into the NBA playoffs. Cleveland was poised for a return to the postseason for the first time since 1998 before their 2004-05 season collapsed amid an ownership change and the firing of coach Paul Silas.

The firing of Silas, which came with the Cavaliers at 34-30, was followed by Jim Paxson's dismissal as general manager; the silence of James, who recently fired agent Aaron Goodwin; and owner Dan Gilbert's secretive search for a coach, GM and president.

The Cavaliers have scheduled a news conference for Thursday at Gund Arena.

Earlier this week, The Associated Press was one of several media outlets to report that Brown had been offered the Cleveland job.

Brown is the league's second youngest coach behind New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank, who is 34.

"It's a great choice," Cavaliers guard Eric Snow said. "He's a guy who has worked hard and paid his dues. He's very knowledgeable in the game. It's great that they're giving an opportunity to someone who is very deserving."

Cleveland's newest coach -- he's the Cavaliers' 17th full-time coach and sixth in six years -- comes with reports saying he'll be working under current Detroit coach Larry Brown. Gilbert's representatives have spoken with Larry Brown about becoming the club's president of basketball operations when the Pistons' season is over.

While the nomadic 64-year-old coach defiantly maintains that his focus is on his health and the Pistons, who are tied 2-2 with Miami in the Eastern Conference finals, there are signs pointing to him eventually joining the Cavaliers.

Mike Brown is one of them. As an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs -- he won an NBA title with them in 2003 -- Brown worked with Gregg Popovich, a close and friend and confidant of Larry Brown's.

Before joining the Spurs, Mike Brown was also a scout and video coordinator for the Denver Nuggets. He later joined the Washington Wizards as an assistant under Bernie Bickerstaff and was also a scout.

A father of two, Brown played two seasons at the University of San Diego after spending two years at a community college.

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