Lakers Fire Head Coach Mike Brown After Bad Start, Kobe Death Stare [UPDATED]
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA, the Lakers have fired head coach Mike Brown. In one season and five games with the Lakers, he has gone 42-29 including the 1-4 record to start this season. More information to come later.
UPDATE: In an 82 game basketball season, the first five games don't really matter a whole lot—except when they really, really do. And for the Lakers, who gained two future Hall of Famers in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard this offseason, the pressure was on to make sure they started off well. Obviously they haven't—Nash has only played one full game, Howard and Kobe Bryant are both nursing injuries, and the team has looked lousy.
According to Yahoo, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak made a case to Lakers owner Jerry Buss and executive vice president Jim Buss to give Brown more time before deciding to fire him. Brown also pleaded his case directly to them, to no avail.
Brown probably deserved a little more time to try to make things work. As Deadspin put it, "Teams that have as many superstars and egos as the Lakers do take some time to come together. Remember when the Miami Heat started off with a 9-8 record the first season that LeBron James and Chris Bosh came aboard? That team turned out OK."
Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will serve as interim coach for Friday night's game against the Warriors. As for who might replace Brown, Yahoo and CBS's Ken Berger both are saying that former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni is a "prominent name" in internal discussions. Two major problems with that: D'Antoni recently had knee surgery, and won't be mobile for a bit; and his "seven seconds or less" offense would make Nash the court leader, something which Bryant might not be too happy about.
And if there's one thing any Lakers coach needs to do, it's to keep Kobe happy. And anybody who has been watching knows that Kobe has been very visually unhappy. And according to Howard, his frustrations are rubbing off on the whole team: "A lot of the guys look at me and Kobe and they feed off us, so we have to do a better job of keeping our frustrations on the inside and just playing through it so our teammates won’t get down on themselves."
There is also, of course, the tantalizing possibility of trying to lure Phil Jackson out of retirement for one more shot at a championship. But the main takeaway from this ignominious end to Brown's coaching tenure in LA? You really can't come back from the Kobe death stare:
UPDATE 12:20 PM: Here is Mike Brown's official statement:
“I have great respect for the Buss family and the Lakers’ storied tradition and I thank them for the opportunity they afforded me. I have a deep appreciation for the coaches and players that I worked with this past year and I wish the organization nothing but success as they move forward.”