The big surprise from today’s news that Larry Brown has stepped down as head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats is that the decision apparently started with CEO Michael Jordan, who removed Brown’s entire coaching staff, as opposed to the itinerant Brown being on the move again. Still, the decision was termed a mutual one, and that makes sense. Rumors have swirled this week that Jordan is considering major changes to the roster, including dealing stars Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace. Brown has never been much for rebuilding, so there was little reason for him to stick around.
If Brown’s departure indeed marks the start of a Charlotte makeover, it is for the best. Following this week’s drubbing at the hands of the lowly Washington Wizards, the Bobcats sit 13th in the Eastern Conference in point differential. At best, Charlotte would be hoping to sneak into the playoffs as the eighth seed (something John Hollinger’s Playoff Odds give them a 0.7 percent chance of doing) to get swept again. While last year’s playoff appearance, combined with Jordan’s purchase of the team, helped the Bobcats gain support in the market, another brief playoff run would have been less effective.
Let us not gloss over how ugly things might get in Charlotte, however. If the Bobcats were this bad with Jackson and Wallace, not to mention Brown keeping the team at least somewhat competitive at the defensive end of the floor, there is the real possibility that Charlotte could end the year as the league’s worst team. That should influence Jordan’s decision on a replacement for Brown. Since the Bobcats are going to bring someone in from outside the organization, it ought to be a person who could be a long-term answer on the sidelines for a franchise that has never had a coach for more than three seasons, not a caretaker who will be judged on the team’s success the rest of the way.
UPDATE: And, an hour later, we know it’s Paul Silas. Silas had a very good run as head coach of the Hornets in both Charlotte and New Orleans before flopping as LeBron James’ first coach in Cleveland. It is somewhat inexplicable that it took him more than five years to get another chance. Silas is 67, so he isn’t going to be around forever, but he has the ability to give the Bobcats some needed stability on the sidelines.