Mike Brown Hiring Could Pave Way For LeBron James Return To Cleveland

With the Cleveland Cavaliers bringing Mike Brown back as coach, hopes are rising for the team to have another reunion — with its former star LeBron James.

Brown was the last coach to have success in Cleveland, leading the team to consecutive 60-win seasons and a trip to the NBA Finals. LeBron James was the main reason for this success, and now many in Cleveland hope that Brown could help the team land the now-maligned James again.

James famously left the team for the Miami Heat after the 2010 season, and Brown was fired shortly afterward.

But Brown and the Cavaliers agreed this week on a five-year, $20 million deal, sources told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst and ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard.

Brown said he’s ready to get to work with Cleveland.

“I am thrilled to return to Cleveland to coach the Cavaliers,” Brown said in a release. “The commitment ownership and management have shown in their efforts to build a successful team and organization is deep and I am excited to lead the team forward. Nothing would mean more to me and my family than to help bring success to this very special community and to all of our committed and loyal fans.”

Now that he’s back with Cleveland, Brown could build a team attractive to James, who can opt out his contract with Miami as early as next summer and has left the door open to a possible return to Cleveland. The Cavs have one of the league’s best rising stars in Kyrie Irving and a lottery pick this year.

James hasn’t spoken about a possible return, but did praise Brown’s hiring.

“I’m happy for him, very happy for him,” James said Tuesday before Game 2 of the Heat’s first-round series against Milwaukee. “I think he’s a really good coach, very defensive-minded coach. It’ll be good for the young guys that they have.”

Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks the reunion would make sense.

“[T]he Cavaliers had better have a fine-tuned, competitive vehicle with roomy salary cap space available for him,” Livingston wrote. “James is certain to be looking for a new team in the summer of 2014 because, while collusion can bring together the players for a “super team,” the new financial rules make it impossible to keep the dynasties together.”

Do you think LeBron James will join Mike Brown and return to the Cleveland Cavaliers?

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