The first time the Cavaliers hired Mike Brown, he blew away owner Dan Gilbert in an interview.

"I have to tell you I've been in business now for 20 years in June and I interviewed a lot of people, and he's probably right up there, if not No. 1 of people who almost instantaneously you got an incredible feeling about him," Gilbert said back in 2005.

Brown apparently has not lost his touch.

Just five days after firing Byron Scott, sources said the Cavs have an agreement in principle to bring back Brown almost three years to the day they fired him. A press conference likely will be held Wednesday afternoon.

Although the Cavs are believed to have done their due diligence, which included reaching out to Phil Jackson and, likely, Mike Krzyzewski, it is believed Brown is the only person they interviewed -- on Sunday in Detroit. The team apparently moved quickly to prevent other teams from getting involved. Brown, 43, already was mentioned as a candidate in Philadelphia, and Phoenix reached out after firing Alvin Gentry earlier this season.

Brown, a defensive expert who was the 2009 NBA coach of the year, is the winningest coach by percentage in franchise history, with a 272-138 record in five seasons. He led the team to its only Finals appearance in 2007. After taking a year off to work for ESPN in 2010, Brown was hired by the Lakers in 2011 to replace the retiring Phil Jackson and produced a 41-25 record in the strike-shortened 2011-12 season. He was let go when the team started 1-4 this season.

The Cavs would not comment, but it is believed they made a substantial commitment to Brown. Yahoo Sports reported Brown's contract was for five years and $20 million. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Lakers would get some relief from the salary they owe Brown, perhaps as much as half. Various reports said the Lakers owed Brown between $6.5 and $8 million.

Partly because of what the Lakers owed, Brown told The Plain Dealer on Thursday that he was in no rush to return to coaching but would listen if the Cavs called. He had already decided to move his family back to the Cleveland area so his youngest son, Cameron, could attend Westlake High School with his friends. Brown has been unavailable for comment since Thursday.

When the Cavs fired Scott on Thursday after a three-year record of 64-166, General Manager Chris Grant said the next coach would have a proven track record with a strong defensive system. He said the team wanted "a teacher ... a grinder and a worker." In essence, he was describing Brown, his close friend since their playing days on the University of San Diego basketball team.

The Cavs obviously decided their best bet was to return to the familiar. Which begs the question: Why fire him in the first place?