In 2013, Mike Brown was hired by the Cleveland Cavaliers on a five-year deal reportedly worth $20 million. Brown was fired one year later and replaced with David Blatt, who lasted only a season and a half. Due to Brown’s guaranteed contract, though, he is still being paid by the Cavs.
Brown took two years off from coaching basketball before signing as the lead assistant for the Golden State Warriors in 2016. He replaced the outgoing Luke Walton and was hired with the knowledge that he might need to fill in for Steve Kerr, who continues to face health problems after complications from back surgery.
Those complications arose again, and Brown has been the acting head coach for the Warriors since Game 3 of the first round. While Kerr could return in the Finals, Brown is leading on the sidelines in Game 1. And while under contract for the Golden State Warriors, he’s still getting money from the Cavaliers as part of his 2013 deal.
Without looking it up — feel free, but that seems way too tedious — this has to be the first time a head coach has ever been paid by both teams in the Finals. It’s just so rare for someone who was fired in the middle of a contract to end up on a Finals-bound team, while the team he was fired from also heads to the Finals. Actually, that seems damn near impossible. Without Kerr’s health complications, it wouldn’t have even happened this year.
Brown’s Cleveland contract runs through next season, although it’s only partially guaranteed. (Let’s guess $1 million instead of $4 million? I’d take that.) So congrats to Mike Brown, who’s living a much better life than any of us.