Former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown has emerged as the leading contender to replace the fired Byron Scott, two longtime NBA insiders told The Plain Dealer on Friday, and the team may move quickly to hire him.

Neither Brown nor Cavs General Manager Chris Grant could be reached for comment. Calls to Brown's agent, Warren LeGarie, were not returned on Friday.

Brown, fired by the Lakers five games into this season, told The Plain Dealer on Thursday night that he had not yet been contacted by the team but would listen if they called. He and his family had decided to return to the Cleveland area before the Cavaliers job became available.

Though the team wants to be thorough in its search, timing could be an issue as Scott's firing on Thursday was the first of many expected in the league. Detroit also fired Lawrence Frank and Philadelphia's Doug Collins stepped down. More vacancies are expected, though Brown told The Plain Dealer he was in no rush to return to coaching. The Lakers still owe him about $8 million.

In discussing Scott's firing on Thursday, Grant said the team was not making enough progress, especially defensively.

"Moving forward we'll look for someone with proven success and look for somebody who is strong defensively with proven systems," Grant said. "We'll look for somebody who is a teacher. We'll look for somebody who is a grinder and a worker."

Though that description fits Brown perfectly, Grant declined to speak about any specific candidates. Grant and Brown are close friends.

Brown's return would not be unprecedented. The Cavaliers dismissed Bill Musselman late in the 1980-81 season, but rehired him to finish the 81-82 campaign. Bob Bass had four separate stints in San Antonio, and Cotton Fitzsimmons had three in Phoenix. Other coaches who coached the same team twice include Pat Riley in Miami, Lenny Wilkens in Seattle, Dick Motta in Dallas, Don Nelson in Golden State and Gene Shue with the Clippers and Washington, though they weren't all fired and rehired.

Meanwhile, in Miami, former Cav LeBron James said reports of Brown's possible return "should be real," according to the Associated Press. The comment is interesting given James' rumored consideration of opting out of his contract in 2014. When Brown was fired in 2010, it was thought part of the reason was to keep a dissatisfied James happy.