INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Kyrie Irving was already wearing his jacket and a Louis Vuitton backpack as he conducted his final postgame interview.
He seemed in a rush, which was understandable. He wasn't going to the playoffs.
Once Irving finished answering questions, Cleveland's All-Star point guard quickly left the locker room. His third NBA season — one filled with highs, lows and ultimately disappointment — was finally over. The postseason remained out of reach for Irving and the Cavs, who had a turbulent six months together.
Their offseason could be as choppy.
With coach Mike Brown's future in question and owner Dan Gilbert faced with difficult decisions on his front office, roster and whether to offer Irving a maximum, five-year contract extension, the Cavs are in flux. And again, the highlight of their summer will be taking part in the NBA lottery, a drawing Gilbert vowed to avoid.
"We came up short," Irving said. "I came up short."
Unable to overcome a 9-21 start in the season's first two months, the Cavs said their goodbyes on Thursday not knowing if Brown will return. In the first season of his second go-round in Cleveland, Brown improved the Cavs defensively — they jumped from 30th to 12th — but he couldn't end their postseason drought, now in its fourth year.
It was hardly his fault, but that doesn't mean Brown won't take the blame for the Cavs' disappointing season. Remember, Gilbert fired him after the 2010 season, when the Cavs won 61 games.
"I'd like to see coach come back," guard Dion Waiters said. "We've been together for a year. The ups and downs he stuck with us, we stuck with him. I know he wanted to win just as bad as we wanted to win. I don't think we need any more changes right now. I think coach fits the team."
Waiters, though, isn't positive Brown will get a second year to develop one of the league's youngest teams. Gilbert has shown impatience before and most recently in February, when he fired general manager Chris Grant. The knee-jerk move rattled all of the Cavs, particularly Waiters.
"You never know with this business," he said. "It's not about friendships or relationships. It's about wins and losses, so that opened my eyes up that anything can happen any given day."
Brown said as much following Wednesday night's 114-85 win over Brooklyn, a victory that eased some of embarrassment from losses to Milwaukee and Boston in the past week. Brown, who had five straight winning seasons when he was here the first time, said he would not plead with Gilbert to keep his job.
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