Brown was fired Monday for the second time in four years by owner Dan Gilbert, who last April brought back the only coach to get the Cavs to the NBA Finals, but then dismissed him after the team failed to make the playoffs.
The Cavs went 33-49 under Brown, who had four years remaining on his contract. Brown was fired last year by the Los Angeles Lakers just five games into his second season.
“This is a very tough business,” Gilbert said in a statement. “It pains all of us here that we needed to make the difficult decision of releasing Mike Brown. Mike worked hard over this last season to move our team in the right direction. Although, there was some progress from our finish over the few prior seasons, we believe we need to head in a different direction. We wish Mike and his family nothing but the best.”
Gilbert also said David Griffin would be retained as general manager. Griffin had been the interim GM since Feb. 6, when Gilbert fired Chris Grant.
CLIPPERS: Owner Donald Sterling apologized Sunday for racist comments captured on tape, saying they were a “terrible mistake.”
“I’m not a racist,” Sterling told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in excerpts posted from an interview that aired Monday. “I made a terrible mistake. I’m here to apologize.”
In his first public comments since being banned for life from the NBA, Sterling said years of good behavior as an owner should count toward his future.
“I’m a good member who made a mistake,” Sterling said. “Am I entitled to one mistake, am I after 35 years? I mean, I love my league, I love my partners. Am I entitled to one mistake? It’s a terrible mistake, and I’ll never do it again.”
The interview came nearly two weeks after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling, fined him $2.5 million and urged the other league owners to force him to sell the team.
Sterling said he waited to make a public apology because he was “emotionally distraught.”
“The reason it’s hard for me, very hard for me, is that I’m wrong,” Sterling said. “I caused the problem. I don’t know how to correct it.”
He later added, “If the owners feel I have another chance, then they’ll give it to me.”
Sterling’s comments came on the same day ABC News posted excerpts of an interview his estranged wife gave to Barbara Walters.
Shelly Sterling said she would fight to keep her 50 percent ownership stake of the team.
“I will fight that decision,” Shelly Sterling said. “To be honest with you, I’m wondering if a wife of one of the owners, and there’s 30 owners, did something like that, said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband? Or would they leave the husband in?
“I don’t know why I should be punished for what his actions were.”
NBA spokesman Mike Bass released a statement in response to Shelly Sterling’s comments.
“Under the NBA constitution, if a controlling owner’s interest is terminated by a three-quarter vote, all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well,” Bass said. “It doesn’t matter whether the owners are related as is the case here. These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team.”
The interim CEO hand-picked by the NBA to run the Clippers says he’s confident the league will succeed in forcing a sale of the team.
“My personal belief is the league will prevail, which means there will be an ownership change,” Dick Parsons said. “A prolonged legal battle is in no one’s interest, certainly not the league’s. I would hope we could avoid that.”