May 25, 2011, 6:17 PM EST
UPDATE 6:19 pm: The Lakers have released an official statement on Mike Brown.
“In response to rampant speculation and reports about our head coaching position and Mike Brown, we’ve met with Mike and are very impressed with him. In addition, we have an outline for an agreement in place and hope to sign a contract within the next few days.”
It will get done. Mike Brown is the man.
3:32 pm: Well Lakers fans, you have a coach who spits in a cup on the sidelines. Congrats!
Deal is done. Mike Brown and Lakers agree to 4-year, $18.25 million deal. Team option for 4th year. Brown gets $2.5 mil if option not taken
Kobe on board with hiring of Brown, has great respect for him, according to sources. Lakers will announce Brown hiring this afternoon.
What else did you expect Kobe to say publicly? He wants to win, he has to back the coach. What really matters is how he buys in — and through words and actions gets the rest of the team to buy in — come training camp and next season.
Brown, the former Cavaliers coach for the last five years Mike Brown was there, steps in because he impressed Jim Buss (the son of owner Jerry Buss), the guy really making the calls now.
This is a radical change of style and a departure from what was, and what had worked for the Lakers, for years. That alone makes it a risky move, but moving away from the shadow of Jackson was something the Buss family wanted to do. (Well, except Jeanie.)
All Brown has to do is fill the shoes of Phil Jackson and appease a fan base that isn’t happy unless the Lakers win two NBA titles every season. Good luck with that. He comes in with the advantage of having coached in the media circus that followed LeBron James around, so he is used to coaching a team with distractions. And, Brown was an assistant with the Indiana Pacers when Ron Artest was there, so he already knows what he is getting into.
Brown led the Cavaliers to two 60-win seasons and the NBA finals one time. He is a defense-first coach and that is why this could work — where the Lakers collapsed in the playoffs was on the defensive end. Their rotations were almost non-existent and nobody “helped the helper.” The team just seemed lost on that end of the floor, and if Brown can bring a renewed committment on that end the Lakers will remain serious contenders.
But defense is not what concerns Lakers fans — it is Brown’s offense, which had the reputation of being LeBron-centric and boring. But what Brown did was play to the talent given him, which was not really a running group. And when your other offensive options are Delonte West and what’s left of Shaquille O’Neal, any good coach would run every possession through LeBron.
The Lakers can score whatever system with their talent. The question is, will they follow Brown into battle like they did Jackson?
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