Brian Shaw Close To Becoming Next Coach of the Cavaliers?

It hasn’t been easy.

There was some belief that the Cavaliers might have made a mistake by not having a replacement ready when they fired Mike Brown. Well, in many ways, they did have their replacement lined up. It was supposed to be Tom Izzo. However, once Izzo turned the job down, the Cavaliers were stuck back at square one.

It appeared for a while that Byron Scott was the front runner and would likely be the next guy offered the Cavs job. When rumors of Phil Jackson pondering retirement began to spring up, though, things were once again brought to a halt as two of the Cavs’ candidates, Byron Scott and Brian Shaw, were also candidates to be Phil’s replacement.

This is pretty much the story of how the Cavs’ offseason has gone. The whole thing has been one massive tangled web. Did the Cavs fire Mike Brown to appease LeBron? Did LeBron want Ferry gone or did Ferry not want to come because he didn’t want to hire the coach LeBron wanted? Did Izzo turn down the Cavs because LeBron wouldn’t talk to him? If LeBron didn’t talk to Izzo, does that mean LeBron is leaving? Chicago is the front runner? Miami is? LeBron met in Miami with Bosh and Wade this weekend? LeBron wasn’t in Miami? Wade wasn’t in Miami? The Cavs have the edge to keep LeBron? This stuff is enough to make slamming your head on your desk seem not only preferable, but logical.

Mercifully, things appear to be getting close to resolution, at least on the coaching front. After interviewing with the Cavaliers on Monday, it appears that Brian Shaw is not only the favorite of the Cavaliers, but according to Fanhouse, Shaw is close to finalizing a deal to become the next coach of the Cavaliers.

However, this is still by no means a done deal. There are still some things to be worked out. The Plain Dealer’s Brian Windhorst has reported that while Shaw is still not official, it’s clear a contract with him is being worked on, while Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Shaw has been contacting coaches over the phone today in an attempt to build his staff.

In that previously mentioned Fanhouse article, Scott’s agent had some not so flattering things to say about the Cavaliers:

Had an offer been made to Scott, the Cavs would have received an answer within a day. Without assurances that James would return to Cleveland, he likely would have turned down the job.

“We assumed that due a week of miscommunications with the organization, which continually required on the record correcting, Chris Grant was aware of our disappointment in media driven coaching search. As a week of ‘corrected’ media reports from ‘our camp’ indicated, we did not appreciate Cavalier executives going ‘off the record’ and creating incorrect news with writers, or at least as was repeatedly told to us by those journalists,” Scott’s agent, Brian McInerney, wrote FanHouse.

“There was no offer or contract to withdraw, so issuing a statement that one was being withdrawn only gave credence to a fictional story. There was no reason to speak to LaBron (sic) James since there was nothing to discuss.”

These comments are curious because they seem to contradict what Scott himself told Yahoo’s Marc Spears just one day earlier:

Scott said he has not been offered the job, and it’s his understanding the Cavs hope to make a decision by Thursday’s start of free agency.

“I’m not sitting and waiting on Phil Jackson,” Scott said. “That ain’t me. I’m not waiting on anybody.”

Scott is hopeful James will return to the Cavaliers. He hasn’t spoken directly to James, but has talked to people in his camp, who say there’s a “50-50” chance James re-signs with Cleveland.

“He’s a loyal guy,” Scott said. “He wants to win.”

Without James, the Cavaliers would instantly transform from a title contending team to a rebuilding franchise. Scott isn’t fearful of that possibility because he’s been in similar situations coaching the New Jersey Nets and New Orleans Hornets.

“I would coach there without LeBron,” Scott said. “But they got a good shot at getting him back. Without him, they would probably go from 60 wins to 30 wins. But [without James], it’s still a better job than when I first started in New Jersey, and it’s still a better job than when I first started in New Orleans.”

So which one is the truth? Is his agent just expressing sour grapes because Shaw appears headed toward landing the job, or is it really true that Scott was trying to put pressure on the Lakers by keeping his name in the press? Now that a few places have published reports that Scott’s interest in the Cavaliers was as much posturing as anything else, perhaps his agent is trying to soften the perception.

Whatever the case may be, the good news for the Cavaliers is that they identified the guy they wanted after Tom Izzo, and it appears that he is poised to become the next head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The obvious question then is, what can we expect from Shaw? He was a highly respected NBA player who meets the ‘former player who can bring some credibility to the coaching position’ qualification. Having served under Phil Jackson, he brings a certain pedigree and tutelage to the Cavs. He’s seen how the greatest coach in NBA history (sorry Red) operates and he has plenty of learning experiences to lean on as he makes the adjustment to being a head coach.

As for X’s and O’s, we just won’t know until we see the team in action. Will he bring the triangle to the Cavaliers regardless of personnel, or will he try to adapt his system to what the Cavs have to offer? What kind of defensive principles will he install on the team? Will we see more help and double teams as opposed to complex rotations we saw under Mike Brown? Perhaps. But any of that would be pure speculation for right now.

Once we know what the Cavs roster looks like and once we know for sure that Brian Shaw is indeed the head coach we can then break down all those topics. For now, we’ll keep an eye on the story and try to update everyone as official word comes in.

UPDATE: In the time since this article was written, Brian Windhorst has updated his Twitter account to reflect that the Cavs will not hire a coach today, are not working on a contract with anyone, and have not offered the job to anyone. At this point, I don’t know what to make of this story. It’s changing literally every half hour, so we will continue to update as needed.


Photo Source: AP Photo

  • Daredent

    Rookie coach for a rebuilding Lebron-less team. Gilbert will only care about his Casino’s now anyways.

    Works for me.

  • MattyFos

    I wonder how Mo and Delonte would play in the triangle. To be honest, I have no idea how the triangle is run and what exactly it does. But, Doesn’t it need two shooting guards and a shooting big?

  • Rich

    Lol. So now we just immediately put on our defensive “I hate everything” armor? Very unfair to say that Gilbert will only care about his casinos. He’s given us no reason at all for us to assume he’ll stop trying to win. I understand times are tough as a Cavs fan, but Gilbert is the best thing we have going..let’s cut him some slack.

    Oh, and rookie coach > veteran coach who has a habit of causing his team’s to turn on him in quite an amazing way.

  • MattyFos

    Matty’s MSM spin-

  • JNeids

    <— Slamming head against desk…

  • Andrew

    @Matty: Not necessarily. The big is generally on the low post and is the first option. Often you want your big to be a good passer as much as a good shooter because once he receives the ball on the post, he has plenty of passing options (as well as a scoring option).

    It could open some space for Mo a little bit, make him into more of a SG than a PG, which could be good for him. It would probably work wonders for LeBron, though, assuming he would commit to playing it and wouldn’t just resort to just standing around and dribbling like he used to do to Mike Brown so frequently.

  • DP

    Really, if Shaw (or whomever eventually gets hired) even knows how to create/use a freaking rotation, that would be a step in the right direction.

  • MattyFos

    Andrew, with that explanation, I like the triangle with Cleveland. Mo would shine in it. And our low post presence could be either Antawn or LBJ. LBJ is a great passer, and Antawn can make very difficult shots. I’m not sure how well of a passer Antawn is.

  • Mike

    I am less interested in who the new coach is and more interested in who the new coach will hire as assistants.

    You need superior assistants to get the most out of your team. While I like Mike Malone and Melvin Hunt, they are not nearly in the same class as guys like Thibodeau and Shaw. If Shaw is stuck getting lesser quality assistants, then he is a bad fit.

  • MattyFos


  • Tom

    either of these two are BS. get it? byron scott. brian shaw. BS!

  • Zack

    Mike Malone is indeed in that class, he is a great, great coach. The offense, until the addition of Jamison and the Shaq injury, was SO much better than it’s ever been this year.

    He is liked and respected around the league, is sharp, and is a class act.

    Melvin Hunt, maybe not so much, but Malone is a basketball lifer.

    I agree with the sentiment about strong assistant coaches. The great teams have that strength, and then the HC is more of a rah-rah guy (or zen master).

  • Shamrock

    Sigh only kind of coach who would want the job is a first timer that is a job minus LeBron James. Best of luck Clevelanders, your gonna need it! 

  • Harv 21

    Maybe no deal done today because Shaw’s agent looked around, saw no legit other candidates after Scott’s agent lit the flamethrower, and is now attempting to leverage a sweeter deal than a typical first-time head coach. If I’m him I say to Chris Grant, “Hey, man, if my guy doesn’t take this, you’re looking at Sampson.”

  • Shamrock

    Don’t stop believing…

  • Kevin

    I wanna talk to Sampson!!!


  • Fortunes in American Slang

    Zack – The offense was better when Kuester was running it IMO.

  • Matt#2


    Who is in a position to accept an offer to be the head coach of the Cavs?

  • stin4u

    WFNY can we get another step back from the ledge piece soon?

    The sky isn’t falling, black hasn’t turned to white, up is still up and down is still down. Relax….Shaw is a good hire at this point (if these report end up being correct). Out of a lack luster pool of head coach options Shaw would be one of the better choices. He’s a former player with championship pedigree, who’s seen all he needs to see sitting next to the Zen master himself. Good enough for me, I’d be very happy with him on the sidelines next year.

  • swig

    Hold on to the feeling…

  • Matt#2

    Street lights, people

  • Scott

    Some were born to sing the blues

  • guyritz

    living just to find emotion

  • Shamrock

    @18 No idea but that’s not my job I’m simply saying I’d prefer a head coach who isn’t in his first professional season. I would think after all the first time coaches the city of Cleveland has suffered through that people would be afraid but I don’t know.

    I said a long time ago when I said Mike Brown was overrated and that the Cavaliers wouldn’t win a title under him that the biggest problem would be who to replace him with and it has been although alot of that is due to LBJ’s free agency. Shaw MIGHT be good but I’m just skeptical. I don’t think being an assistant even on a team like the Lakers makes you a head coach. Mike Brown assisted Greg Popovich, enough said. If Shaw was ready then why are the Lakers allowing him to interview elsewhere while Byron Scott is a supposed possible replacement for Jackson?

  • Denny

    Are you guys talking about Jose Francisco Torres Robocop Steve Perry?!

  • 5haun

    The smell of wine and cheap perfume

  • Jack

    Hiding, somewhere in the niiiiiiiiiiiight…

  • Matt#2


    I took you to be saying that no one but a first-timer would want to coach the Cavs.

  • JM

    PHIL JACKSON IS COMING HERE. THIS IS ALL SPECULATION AND RUMORS. WE KNOW HE WILL LEAD US TO GLORY. I honestly have no idea who will be coach. I wonder what players will be on the team too.

  • mgbode

    “If Shaw was ready then why are the Lakers allowing him to interview elsewhere while Byron Scott is a supposed possible replacement for Jackson?”

    umm, from all reports, Shaw is also a supposed possible replacement for Jackson. it is quite possible that Phil is returning and that the Lakers don’t want to get a complete crud on their face for not allowing their asst. coaches to advance their careers (what organization doesn’t allow their assistants to interview for HC opportunities?)

    now, I preferred Scott because we have seen what he is capable of and while it wasn’t on the level of Phil/Pop, it was quite impressive and he could have improved on some of his flaws. However, Shaw still seems like a better hire to me than Tom Thib. or Avery Johnson, and I’m getting really skeptical of D’Antoni without a great shooting PG to complement his style. So, that leaves Spoelstra as the current ‘other’ HC that LeBron could choose.

    Is Spoelstra really that much better than Shaw? And I don’t think a 1year run of Riley is enough to get LeBron to sign on for the Heat for 6 years.

  • Shamrock

    @28 If LeBron is gone then yes I believe that to be true. It’s a catch 22 though because I agree with the people who say/think LBJ’s free agency is an impediment to finding a new head coach. It’s unfortunate but was known for well in advance.

  • jimkanicki

    i still want laimbeer.

    he’ll make mo do wind sprints if he pulls an 0-10 like he did that game at milwaukee. he’ll run over delonte’s trike with his F-250. he’ll scrimmage with the team, box out antawn, and pull down 10 offensive rebounds.

    somewhat tongue in cheek, but say what you want about him: he knew how to win and did it.

  • jimkanicki

    ^^ taking it further. i want a coach who makes an imprint on a team. shaw, fine. scott, fine. mikebrown, not fine. (but best record in nba two years in a row.)

    but can any of these guys create an identity for his team?

    i wanted to say that issue vital if we have rebuild due to lbj leaves. but on reflection, i think it’s even MORE key if lbj stays. bron seemed a little reluctant to take over and ‘own’ the team… he wants to be a contributor to the team… but not the whole show. go back to SVSM and you can see that though he’s the log-scale the best player, he loved his team and didn’t want his stature to obscure the contributions of his teammates.

    given that, a strong personality is needed to lead the team. take the onus off lebron who is not up for it.

    laimbeer could do that. scott/shaw might smarter than mike brown. but they also might do what’s expedient and bow to the force of lebron. laimbeer? probably not.

  • mike

    regarding Byron Scott – is it possible that he really isn’t THAT good of a coach? sure he has a nice resume but look closer. he really wasn’t as successful as he could have been with NO. some of those teams, with Chris Paul, were fairly well stacked. i know he got to two Finals with the Nets, but look at the state of the nba at that time. first off, the Nets had Kidd (in his prime), vince carter (in his prime) and a young richard jefferson just getting into his prime. the East had no really strong teams other than the Pistons then. and there certainly weren’t any beasts like Magic/Celtics/Cavs right now. the top teams were all in the West then (Lakers, Kings, Spurs, Dallas). NJ had the best record in the East in 2001-02 with just 52 wins! the next season they had the SECOND BEST record in the East with just 49 wins! All I’m saying is Scott (a) got to two finals with a pretty good Nets team in years where the East was overall terrible, and (b) had limited success with fairly talented Hornets’ rosters.

  • MattyFos

    How dare you bring statistics in here!

    Those were some nice stats though.

  • mike

    its possible that the 2009-2010 Atlanta Hawks could have won the East back then. not a knock on Atlanta, but they are clearly no better than #4 right now in the East.

  • mike

    the 2009/2010 Cavs might have won 70 games in the East in 2001-2003.

  • Matt#2

    Coaching is women’s work.