With the Cavaliers firing Mike Brown on Monday, speculation is already running rampant about his successor. The most important factor, of course, is hiring someone LeBron James wants to play for. If they don't — and maybe even if they do — LeBron's next coach will be in New York, Chicago, Miami or some place other than Cleveland. Here are five possibilites for the vacancy.
Of all the currently unemployed coaches, a group that includes Avery Johnson, Vinny Del Negro and Lawrence Frank, Scott may have the best resume. He led the Nets to the NBA Finals twice and won the league's Coach of the Year award with the Hornets. He has no obvious ties to LeBron, however, and it's also not evident that he represents a significant upgrade over Mike Brown.
The brains behind Boston's masterful defensive schemes, Thibodeau is the hot name among NBA assistant coaches and is reportedly the leading candidate for the New Orleans job. But he's not necessarily a sexy enough name to get LeBron's attention as James makes his decision whether to stay in Cleveland. The top three prospective coaches on this list would be much splashier hires, to say the least.
Why would Jackson leave L.A. and Kobe and Pau and Jeannie Buss to go to Cleveland? OK, most likely he wouldn't. But if he feels disrespected by Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who seems inclined to give Jackson a pay cut, then it's a little more conceivable. Not to mention the intriguing possibility of coaching LeBron after working with Michael, Shaq and Kobe.
The notion of John Calipari and LeBron James being a package deal seems nutty, but it's the most prevalent rumor/conspiracy theory out there right now. As the story goes, and all relevant parties deny it, a somewhat shady character named William Wesley ("Worldwide Wes") is trying to broker a deal putting the Kentucky coach and LeBron in the same locker room. Chicago is the most likely landing spot under this unlikely scenario, but Cleveland now has its own coaching vacancy. So let the speculation run wild!
This would be the dream hire for the Cavaliers. Not only does Coach K have LeBron's respect from their time together on Team USA, he also seems like one of the few college coaches who could successfully make the transition to the NBA. Of course, Krzyzewski has a great thing going at Duke and may have no interest in leaving. But if he feels like he's accomplished everything he can in college and is excited about taking on a new challenge, it's just possible.