Posted November 09, 2012

Lakers fire coach Mike Brown

Ben Golliver, Los Angeles Lakers, Mike Brown, Mike D'Antoni
Mike Brown, Kobe Bryant

The Lakers possess the worst record in the Western Conference. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

The Lakers announced the firing of coach Mike Brown on Friday after a 1-4 start.

“This was a difficult and painful decision to make,” Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said in a prepared statement. “Mike was very hard-working and dedicated, but we felt it was in the best interest of the team to make a change at this time. We appreciate Mike’s efforts and contributions and wish him and his family the best of luck.”

Brown also issued a brief 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.”

The decision to relieve Brown of his duties was first reported by USA Today and ESPNLA.com.

Yahoo! Sports also reported the decision, noting that Kupchak was hoping for a more patient approach and that the decision came from ownership.

Within past 24 hours, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak had pushed ownership to give Mike Brown more time before firing him.

“Feel bad for Coach Mike Brown, who’s a great guy, but don’t think he was the right guy for the job in the first place,” Lakers legend Magic Johnson tweeted on Friday.

The Los Angeles Times reported that assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will coach the Lakers on Friday night, when they play host to the Golden State Warriors at the Staples Center, and that a coaching search will commence from there.

The move comes just hours after ESPN.com reported that Brown’s job status hung on the Lakers’ performance during an upcoming six-game homestand and just two days after executive vice president Jim Buss openly questioned whether Brown’s system was “flawed” and appeared to lay the groundwork for a possible coaching change. The Lakers are in the midst of their worst start since 1993-1994.

“I have no problems with Mike Brown at all,” Buss said on Wednesday. “He just works too hard and he’s too knowledgeable for this to be happening. So either the system is flawed or something’s going on. Or, like the Triangle, it’s very hard to pick up and understand. I’m not a basketball mind like he is or the players are, and the players are fine with it, so I just have to be patient.”

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Star guard Kobe Bryant, who looked visibly frustrated during a loss to the Utah Jazz earlier this week, told the Los Angeles Times Thursday that he stood by his coach.

“I’ve been his biggest supporter,” Bryant said of Brown. “I’m really too old to be dealing with childish things.”

Last week, Bryant told Lakers critics to “shut up,” saying that it was his job to tamp down the public criticism because he, like former Lakers coach Phil Jackson but unlike Brown, is an NBA champion.

“The critics are more likely to take runs at him [Brown] than they would at Phil Jackson,” Bryant said. “I’ve won, so I can [call for silence]. Mike, it would be a little tougher for him to say that. So I’ll say it for him: Everybody shut up. Let us work.”

In recent weeks, star center Dwight Howard, acquired in a summer trade from the Orlando Magic, had also preached patience.

“We’ll get better with time,” Howard said last week. “L.A. wasn’t built in a day. … We need to stay patient. We need all of our fans to stay patient with us. This is a process. Dynasties weren’t built in a day.”

The Lakers, despite entering the season with four potential All-Stars in their starting lineup and a $100 million payroll, have the worst record in the Western Conference. Brown’s decision to implement a Princeton offense and the Lakers’ porous defense, ranked No. 22 in the league, apparently caught up to him. It’s been a nightmare start all-around for the Lakers, who also lost starting point guard Steve Nash to a non-displaced fracture in his fibula in the team’s second game of the season.

On Friday, Bryant posted his response to Brown’s firing in a message on his official Facebook page.

“Tough day,” Bryant’s statement read. “I’ve seen coaches as well as friends come and go. No matter how many years I’ve been playing, it’s still hard to deal with. I had a good relationship with Mike and I will continue to have one. I wish him and his family nothing but the best. I spoke with him today and thanked him for all of his hard work and sacrifice. As a team, we must focus our energy on tonight’s game. We must block out the weight of today’s news and simply do our jobs to the best of our ability. I’m not sure what direction we are heading in next. All I can do is focus on the here and now.”

Lakers forward Pau Gasol also addressed the news after Lakers’ shootaround on Friday.

“It’s a pretty direct message to all of us,” Gasol said, according to the Associated Press. “There’s no messing around. It’s time for all of us to step it up.”

Brown, 42, signed a four-year contract worth a reported $18.25 million guaranteed in May 2011. The Lakers held a team option on the last season, so Brown will be paid salary for the remainder of this season and 2013-14 to the tune of a reported $11 million. He holds a career record of 314-167 in seven years with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Lakers.

In addition to Mike D’Antoni, who abruptly resigned as coach of the Knicks last season, a number of well-regarded coaches are currently available, including Jackson, former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan and former Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan. CBSSports.com reports that former Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw, now a Pacers assistant coach, could also be a candidate. He was a finalist for the Lakers job before Brown was hired.

92 comments
no.morepc1
no.morepc1

How about our 5 guys out scoring the other 5 guys. Brown doesn't shoot the ball nor rebound. Cheap move Lakers. Lost my support this year and could care less if we make it to the playoffs. Jim Buss give the team to Jeanie and let her run it, you idiot.

Joe r1
Joe r1

No, bad decision, seriously...wait...unless they've got Coach K coming in. I hadn't heard that, though...Okay, I'm done.

Joe r1
Joe r1

Poor decision, IMO.

Joe r1
Joe r1

bad decision.

 

KevinSkyler
KevinSkyler

Brian Shaw would bring a calm to a nervous Lakers group. It is time to give that man his due. If you learn 6 yrs under Phil Jackson that's experience!

DanielSmith1
DanielSmith1

"Alan Alda will replace Phil Jackson as keynote speaker at annual Schwab Advisor conference next week."  Sounds to me like Phil Jackson is clearing his schedule at the last minute to make a return to the bench.

Lars
Lars

Jim Buss proves that Nepotism is rarely  successful.

Jerry should have hired Jeanie.

 

russells
russells

Brian Shaw should have been the coach in the first place.

ErickMyers-VanPelt
ErickMyers-VanPelt

Fans and media of LA are like the ones in NYC.  They are ruthless and impatient for a winner.  Buss family caved to pressure of losing fan base and crowds of viewers on TV and at arena.  Brian Shaw was the right pick, after Jackson left, because Shaw wouldn't have had to redo system in place.  Bad hiring leads to bad firing.

CucamongaKing
CucamongaKing

This is STAGE ONE in the dunce Buss kid's destroying of Laker organization.

 

What other authority job in the world WOULD say, get me a former drug addict to run my bilion dollar empire (like Buss Jr.).

 

WHO could have predicted that BROWN the defensive guy would run into problems with an aging offense     That's a hard one.

airmjbsanders
airmjbsanders

I’m not gonna act like MBrown is a great coach, but he’s a good coach & he was clearly made a scapegoat here after ONLY FIVE GAMES!   MB couldn’t make KB, Nash or Pau any younger!  MB was NOT on the medical staff, so he couldn’t make D12’s back feel better either!  And Mike didn’t sign the players on the 2nd unit, Mitch did!

 

It’s always easy to throw the HC under the bus!  How many times did MIA Hype bandwagoners scream for Spo’s head prior to gm 2 of the Finals last yr?  Now Spo is looked at as one of the best coaches in the league (not by me BTW).  What’s really messed up @ this situation is that 1) Mike never got to coach CP3 like he was supposed to and 2) Mike hardly had any chance to coach this season’s startin 5 w/ D12 missin almost all of training camp/preseason & Nash goin down early in gm 2!

 

Any way you look @ it MBrown got a raw deal here!  We’ll see if they can find another Pat Riley-type in season to lead them to a chip this yr.  If not they’re gonna look real stupid at the end of the season, esp. if D12 leaves.

radrfn90019
radrfn90019

mike brown was released after 1 full season as the Lakers head coach after a 46 - 36 record. 41 - 25 short season, 4 - 7 playoff, and 1 - 4 start.

 

unacceptable. 

Mr. B!
Mr. B!

How do you follow the two greats, Phil Jackson and Pat Riley? 

 

KarenScott
KarenScott

If Mike D. becomes the Lakers coach, I will have to start rooting against them for the first time in over 30 years. 

Truly_Genwine
Truly_Genwine

PJ would be my choice, but he has nothing left to prove (for less than 15 mil). Brown was never the right choice to begin with! Would Shaw be able to leave Indiana to coach the Lakers?

RichardLarson
RichardLarson

Brian Shaw was my choice to replace Jackson.  The Lakers should sign him immediately because Kobe would fit well with Shaw and Shaw would demand that the players work.  Shaw's system would also be much easier to pick up.  The other guys mentioned above, are all too old to deal with the pressures of coaching in LA.

JeffRamey
JeffRamey

Not a big surprise, people. Did anyone watch him as coach in Cleveland? He's clueless.

sangwoo29
sangwoo29

Sloan is the best simply because of the expectation and ego surrouding this team. Shaw could have been a good fit last year before Brown's hire but at this time, Buss can't take a risk of bringing in a young gun to run the team. Jackson will not come back as he already had his legacy with LA. Sloan is still missing the ring and Kobe and the co will show the similar respect they had for Jackson with Sloan. Malone and Stockton pick n roll to LA, that will truely bring the best oout of Nash and Howard/Gasol. Of course D'Antoni is a good fit as Kobe idolized him in Italy plus Nash and Mike combination is scary good but still the big market and D'Antoni seem a weird combination. Ask folks in NY... 

IanBurbage
IanBurbage

Am I mistaken, or doesn't Kobe hate  D’Antoni? I seem to remember him always making a side trip to the Knicks' bench to talk trash to him in Italian. I thought it stemmed from his days growing up a fan in Italy and really hating his style of play. 

 

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

Honestly though, you can only blame the coach so much, the players lost the games.  Some games Phil Jackson was barely paying attention, and that is the way KoMe liked it.

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

Poor Mike Brown, he got raped by Kobe.

Mitch34
Mitch34

Bottom line, you can't lose to the teams they have been losing to.  I understand it takes time to gel and learn an offense, but the Lakers are a team that is expected to win.  1 and 4 is not going to cut it.

But they need to choose the next coach carefully, don't make and rash decisisions. 

Bickerstaff can hold the ship afloat (if you call 1-4 afloat) until we bring in the right coach!

keith_cos
keith_cos

Stan Van Gundy!!  If there's a fund to contribute for this I think we could raise a few million to pay his salary.  It would be worth it to see Dwight's reaction.

JulesG
JulesG

I notice a lot of childish comments here...trying to blame certain people, slamming Kobe, etc. The fact of the matter is that it takes a special kind of coach to coach big named talent and implement the parts correctly. Mike Brown was never that type of coach. He is a good D coach and is a nice guy players can interact with, but he is not a motivator, a fierce competitor, nor a coach that is a great x's and o's guy. With all the talent the Lakers have, you need someone who has the ability to get the most of them collectively, which is what made Phil Jackson as a coach. I think Brian Shaw is the perfect guy to do it because he was in the Lakers system for so long, is respected by the core team, and doesn't have a job right now. He is a gold nugget sitting in a shallow river right now. I think he could turn this team around, because they have the ingredients to still be a top notch, championship team.

Doug B
Doug B

Mike D'antonio will bring back Showtime, let the fun begin!

JulesG
JulesG

 @airmjbsanders Just read what radrfn90019 wrote....I disagree with you, because I watched those 5 games and saw things like MWP playing shooting guard for long stretches while Meeks and Goudelock sat there warming the bench. World Peace at shooting guard!?!?! Are you serious? Bad player combinations where there is not enough scoring from the bench players he put in. I saw Jordan Hill take a long jumper during a sequence and MB said nothing. Players did not look motivated and looked frustrated and he sat there emotionless...

 

To me, you are not a scapegoat if you are seeked out for the job, but under-perform. It's the L.A. Lakers....with an older, but talented team. Their motto is win NOW...not sometime later... At least LOOK like a formidable team in your losses...right? Not getting blown out by Dallas and Utah...that is silly.  I just think it wasn't a fit. Despite any negative you can say Mitch took on...they got a really good core to work with and cannot help that a James Harden wasn't available to them. Nash for example, came when a younger PG shunned them for more money. So no one is really blameable here...MB just was not the guy and it showed last year AND this year with a better team than last year....mannerisms told the story...attitude...nature of the losses, etc, etc.

airmjbsanders
airmjbsanders

 @radrfn90019 Yeah, how many times did Spo look like he was in over his head before winnin it in MIA last yr!  MB was never really given a chance.

steven19
steven19

 @RichardLarson

 Kobe didn't want Shaw as the coach. That was why they didn't hire Shaw in the first place. Thanks kobe.

Christopher12
Christopher12

I agree! Sloan would be a fantastic pick for Head Coach. I have admired this coach for a long time and believe that he would bring the leadership needed while also having the respect from the players. Coaching legendary players takes wisdom demands attention from players, which I don't think Mike Brown could be capable of at this time. Not to discredit him as a coach (MB), because he has a respected winning record, I think he would do better with a younger team.

bigsancho
bigsancho

 @IanBurbage No he actually really likes D'Antoni.  When D'Antoni played in Italy, he was one of young Kobe's favorite players, along of course with his father Joe.  Any trash talk you saw was just 2 old friends bantering.  So while he does like and respect him, I don't know if he'd want him as a coach - my guess is not.

akc8818
akc8818

 @SukeMadiq

I used to believe that until I witnessed the 49ners went from 2-14 to almost reaching the Super Bowl with a new coach.

MagicKenny
MagicKenny

 @JulesG Hey Jules - excellent take on the situation. I don't think Brian Shaw is the right guy, though. I don't know if he's got the sheer force of will to bend the superstars to do his bidding. What I would've like to see was his taking over a small-market club after he left the Lakers to get his feet wet and develop as a coach (somewhat like Byron Scott, though he went to Indiana!). I guess what I'm saying is I think he'd be great for the Lake Show once he's picked up some coaching experience elsewhere. 

Mr. B!
Mr. B!

 @JulesG How does anyone follow a legacy left by Phil Jackson and Pat Riley? 

Pares Hilton
Pares Hilton

Mike Brown reminds me of Norv Turner, a good assistant but sucks as a head coach.

CucamongaKing
CucamongaKing

 @Josh5 YOU must be talking about your boy Bush.     Bush the former drug addict determine to rectify every criticisms HIS DADDY was accused off.

 

WENT into Bagdad, started war with Afghanistan, and CUT taxes during two wars.

 

Was Bush your man?

airmjbsanders
airmjbsanders

 @JulesG Dude, you seem to be a hardcore LAL homer!  This season's roster is fundamentally flawed, just like MIA's was 2 yrs ago!  Y'all don't have the KB, Nash & Pau from 3-4 yrs ago!  Plus the real best player on the team (Dwight) is comin off a major injury!  Under these circumstances, how could you not at least give Brown 20-30+ gms in order to evaluate the team?

radrfn90019
radrfn90019

 @airmjbsanders spo also won during the season...add up the last 82 games of Mia and i gntee it is better than 46 - 36...

 

JulesG
JulesG

 @airmjbsanders And one more comment....of all those players you named, only 1 wasn't playing good and that was Nash...even before injury. Kobe is shooting 60% right now? Dwight and Pau already averaging a double double.... The core group, despite age, was not the problem....

JulesG
JulesG

 @airmjbsanders Not a "homer" at all....a basic fan sounds better than a "homer"...DOH! Um, I agree with you, but again, losing to Dallas and Utah!?!?! Where you get down by double digits late in the game and can't stop their mascots from scoring and you are a defensive coach? I am not sure what else would get you fired any quicker, when depsite your flawed roster, you still have the talent to at least compete with the likes of Utah. None of what I am saying has anything to do with my love for the Lakers OR donuts....just simply math when the hype machine was running in overdrive going into the season. They couldn't even with a pre-season game...... It was time for a new voice, and again, MB is a wonderful person who gets 18 million dollars for a good try and running a top tier team. God bless him and his family, and now let's try and get this team into a better space.