CLEVELAND (AP) – Indiana Pacers assistant coach Mike Brown was offered Cleveland’s head coaching job, two sources within the NBA told The Associated Press on Monday. Brown, who has been Rick Carlisle’s top assistant the past two seasons and in the NBA for 13 years, was selected by owner Dan Gilbert to become LeBron James’ next coach. Brown is expected to be introduced as Cleveland’s coach in the next few days, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“That’s going to happen,” said one of the sources, who has intimate knowledge of the situation. The Indianapolis Star, (Cleveland) Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon-Journal also reported the Cavs’ choice of Brown. The 35-year-old Brown, who did not immediately respond to a phone message, would be the second-youngest coach in the league after New Jersey’s Lawrence Frank. He would succeed Brendan Malone, who took over as interim coach March 21 after the firing of Paul Silas.

Brown is regarded as a defensive specialist, and that’s an area where Cleveland needs some help after allowing 96.5 points per game last season. Before joining Carlisle’s staff, Brown spent three seasons with San Antonio, winning one league title as an assistant with the Spurs. He coached San Antonio’s summer league teams. Brown also has worked for the Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets. He interviewed for coaching positions with Toronto and Atlanta last summer.

Gilbert, who reportedly also interviewed Phil Jackson, Flip Saunders and Eric Musselman for the coaching job, could not be reached for comment.

The Cavaliers also are awaiting the next move of Detroit coach Larry Brown, whom they would like to hire as their next president of basketball operations.

Last week, the Cavs received permission to speak with Brown once the Pistons’ season is over.

Brown has health problems that could preclude him from coaching next season, so a move to the front office would allow him to stay in the game. Brown did not address his situation or the Cleveland job following the Pistons’ practice on Monday.

Following Sunday’s loss to Miami in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, Brown would not comment on a report that he had to decide by Monday whether to accept the position with the Cavaliers.

Another member of Indiana’s organization, vice president of basketball operations David Morway, has been interviewed for the Cavs’ vacant general manager’s position. According to reports, the club also has talked with Washington Wizards director of player personnel Milt Newton.

Newton, who has been with the Wizards for two seasons, played on Larry Brown’s 1998 NCAA championship team at Kansas.

Gilbert, owner and CEO of Michigan-based Quicken Loans, took over the team on March 1 after buying the Cavaliers and the operating rights to Gund Arena for $375 million. He fired Silas about three weeks later while the team was in a tailspin that eventually cost the Cavaliers their first playoff appearance since 1998.

One day after the season, Gilbert fired GM Jim Paxson.

AP Sports Writers Chris Sheridan and Larry Lage contributed to this report.

AP-ES-05-30-05 1257EDT

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