CLEVELAND (AP) — Paul Silas was fired as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, his team fighting for a playoff spot after leading its division earlier this year.
Former Toronto Raptors coach Brendan Malone was appointed interim coach.Silas told The Associated Press he was informed at a morning meeting with general manager Jim Paxson and new owner Dan Gilbert. Silas’ son, assistant Stephen Silas, also was fired.
Malone’s first game as the Cavaliers’ head coach will be Tuesday night at home against Detroit.
Despite superstar LeBron James, fellow all-star Zydrunas Ilgauskas and a veteran bench, the Cavaliers have struggled since the all-star break. They have lost nine of 12 and nine straight road games, including Sunday’s 105-98 loss to Toronto when James scored a franchise-record 56.
The trouble may have culminated Sunday when Silas benched starting guard Jeff McInnis and replaced him with Eric Snow. Snow did not score in Cleveland’s loss at Toronto and McInnis, despite dressed and available, didn’t play.
Earlier this season, Silas threw Snow off the bench after the two exchanged words during the first quarter at Detroit, a move that stunned the team because of Snow’s reputation as a leader.
Last week, Silas was fined $10,000 US by the team for a derogatory comment he made about Utah forward Carlos Boozer.
Silas made the remark to reporters a day before Boozer was to return to Cleveland after leaving the Cavaliers as a free agent last summer. Boozer didn’t travel with the Jazz because of a foot injury. Silas later apologized.
The 61-year-old Silas joined Cleveland in June 2003 after being fired by the New Orleans Hornets, having led them to the playoffs four straight times.
Malone, in his first season with the Cavaliers, was the first coach of the expansion Raptors, spending one season with the team. He’s been an assistant with New York, Indiana, Seattle and Detroit in 19 years of NBA coaching.
“We felt the change today was necessary. It’s going to put us in a better position to win,” Gilbert said.
During 16 seasons as an NBA player, Silas was fierce under the boards and on defense. He was twice selected as an all-star and won three NBA championships — two with Boston, one with Seattle.
As a coach, he had a record of 355-400 with the Clippers, Hornets and Cavaliers. His Hornets teams (both in Charlotte and New Orleans) went 13-16 the playoffs.