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Magic Johnson thinks Mike Brown can’t survive a Game 7 loss

May 12, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

Magic Johnson Getty Images

It’s amazing when people tend to dismiss what Magic Johnson says about the Lakers. He’s arguably the greatest player in franchise history, is known as a close and personal friend of owner Jerry Buss, still holds an official positions inside the front office, has held an ownership stake in the team as recently as two years ago, and he’s Magic freaking Johnson. This is not your normal former player talking about what he thinks goes on behind the scenes. Johnson’s about as plugged in as anyone. So when he says things like this, you might want to get a little hitch in your giddy-up. From the L.A. Times:

“His job will go,” Johnson said. “The Lakers are about championships. That’s what the Lakers are about. if they lose this game, Mike Brown, I bet you, will not be sitting there.”

“Mike Brown will not be coaching the Lakers if they lose this game,” Johnson said. “There would be so much pressure on Jim Buss and the Laker organization to get rid of him.”

via Magic Johnson: Mike Brown will be fired if Lakers lose to Denver – latimes.com.

That’s not a “Oh, haha, the Lakers fans will be so mad, OMG if the Lakers don’t beat the Nuggets.” That’s a “this organization has the luxury of firing anyone who doesn’t win immediately for them because getting the best talent is really easy for them, and if he loses this game, he’s screwed.” That’s what that is.

Brown’s been in a no-win situation from the start this year. Replacing Phil Jackson? Impossible. Dealing with a locker room allowed to do and act however they wanted under Jackson? Impossible. Getting Andrew Bynum to consistently play with maturity and effort? Impossible. But Brown’s also failed to make adjustments and manage lineups correctly. Losing to Denver in the first-round would be… pretty awful. It’s not that Denver hasn’t played well, they’ve been superb. But the Lakers have higher expectations, even with a roster impacted by the preseason turmoil. If the Lakers can’t pull this off, and the should, just like they did in 2009 under similar circumstances, don’t be shocked if Johnson winds up correct.

  1. cakemixa - May 12, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Who is the more useless or clueless coach in LA? Thumbs up for Brown, thumbs down for Vinny Del Negro.

  2. lakerluver - May 12, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Ugh, oh!!

  3. jeffw - May 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Lakers will win tonight… so it’s a moot point. However, if they did lose, there is no way Jim Buss fires Brown and pays him $10M to leave and do nothing. Won’t happen.

  4. starks3 - May 12, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Mike Brown has been a bad coach for a long time. I was SHOCKED to learn the Lakers gave him the job in the first place. Look at the debacle that was Cleveland, and now he will outdo it in LA if they lose tonight. I’m saying this; any body who comes to this site and loves B-ball, has a little knowledge of the game, could have coached those Cavs and Lakers (i know abbreviated season) to 50+ wins easily.

    Coaching doesn’t mean that much in regular season, if your team is stacked (lebron, Kobe) you can easily cruise to 50 wins a year. What happens when you get to the playoffs is a whole different ball game. Coaching becomes a huge deal. There is a reason Phil Jackson, and Greg Popovich have won so many rings in the past 12 years. Yea they had good players but they were GREAT coaches. Mike Brown has great players, but is not a good coach.

    • passerby23 - May 12, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      I do not think Brown is a good coach, but I don’t think easily winning 50+ games is realistic. I don’t think the Lakers are actually that good. They’re an older team, their bench is the worst in the NBA, their role players are average at best, and they are a pretty poor road team. They are worse than the team that got swept in the second round last year, so what makes winning a first round series a lock with this team? Bynum and Gasol turning in listless performances is no different than last year.

      Bynum has never shown consistently solid play and it’s hard to believe he’s going to start doing it now. Even when they won 2 years ago, Bynum was hobbling around on one leg. Yes, he contributed, but the Lakers had the best sixth man, a better bench, and Kobe and Gasol playing at high levels, which is why they won.

      The Lakers will squeak out Game 7, but they will get swept again in the second round.

  5. andyprough - May 12, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Not really a great roster. Aging superstar in Kobe. Gasol is older and a lesser talent now than his younger brother. Bynum is an OK big man, but not enough scoring moves, and almost no face-up shooting ability. The one saving grace for Bynum is that he seems to be a good free throw shooter.

    Other than that, there’s not a player on the Lakers’ team that I think the Nuggets or the Thunder or Memphis or the Clippers would want on their team. You could argue that World Peace is a decent player, but he was hideous on offense until the last couple weeks of the season.

    This team is about as good as what they are playing – almost as good as the 6th best team in the West.

    • mightyquinn69 - May 12, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      OMG! What the hell are you talking about. You are clueless. Please stay as far away from the BBall as possible.

      • cinnalocks - May 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM

        Mightyquinn is correct. Bynum and Gasol are in the top 10 in efficiency, top ten in rebounding and Gasol, Bynum and Kobe are in the top twenty scorers. andyprough is not well informed for sure. How many teams have a superstar? Yeah right that is why they call them superstars. Indiana, no. Philly no, Sacramento no Milwaukee, no…..Denver no…Kobe is not young but he is still the best at having the ball at games end. Teams have stars but not but a few superstars. An aged superstar is still better than a young star especially if your name is Kobe Bryant.

    • newgene1187 - May 12, 2012 at 8:41 PM

      You 2 sound like George Karl who just made this ignorant comment, “Our players have to understand we need five, maybe six guys playing at a high level to win. They might only need two or three.” that’s ignorant as hell. EVERY championship team had 5 to 6 guys playing at a high level. That’s your star or two stars and 3 starter “quality” players and a 6th man to operate offensively and defensively. THATS every great team. One person may can score 30+ points but if your other guys are NOT playing defense and grabbing rebounds, you’re gonna struggle then lose. Lakers look slim FOR the Playoffs. Decent regular season, but it proves in the playoffs. Kobe, Bynum, and Gasol are NOT enough. 2 or 3 more players have to deliver on a high level as well. I DON’T CARE IF IT’S MJ, if you were wise and aware when he played you would’ve saw those players who contributed during this playoffs. More than just Jordan, Pippen and Rodman/Grant. You NEED a strong 6. Lakers may have it if Artests shows up, Sessions SHOW up with the other guys.

  6. Mr. Wright 212 - May 12, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Magic accomplished exactly what he (and ESPN, by design) wanted you to do — be sitting here discussing his hyperbole-based statement.

    Lakers win tonight and win it all, just as they did in ’09 when everyone made ridiculous statements following the Houston series.

  7. smoothaswilkes - May 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Magic wasn’t exactly correct when he said they would “blow it up” last season so I’ll hold off on believing Brown is gone with a first round loss. In Jim Buss purge of all things Phil, Brown was the complete wrong choice to coach this squad. Adelman would have been better is so many ways.

    For all you lakers fans that think this team is playing like 2009, quit fooling yourself. This team is no where near the caliber of 2009. The current edition of the lakeshow has played this uninspired, unmotivated, lackadaisical brand of ball all freaking year, which makes me sick as a lakers fan. So in the end, win or lose in the first round, I have a feeling that some of Magic’s prognostications will come true. I just don’t think Mike Brown is one of them.

    • chuckj1234 - May 12, 2012 at 6:51 PM

      They will blow up the team even if they get to finals and lose that. I see where Magic is going with his comments the lakers are somewhat spoiled. The clippers are just happy to get to the playoffs. The lakers on the other hand needs to win it all. Regardig Mike Brown I think They will give him another shot and Bynum and Gasol will be traded.

  8. ddtla - May 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Andyprough whatever you call yourself your whole statement was garbage. You obviously don’t watch the Lakers enough.

  9. chargerdillon - May 12, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    I’m not saying i like Mike Brown. The Lakers did far better in the regular season than I had expected them to.

    Mike Brown wasnt the one missing shot after shot after shot in game 6. That was the worst shooting i’ve ever seen in a NBA game.

    As a diehard Laker fan and also somebody who’s realistic, I predicted the Lakers being one and done or two and done this year. I don’t know if anybody has been watching the West but the Lakers at no point in time have looked like the dominant team in this conference let alone their own division which they barely won.

    Did everybody expect the #3 seed to suddenly play like the best team in the NBA because they are the Lakers and it’s the playoffs?

    Pau Gasol was a 20-30 point a night scorer in Phils system. Pau has never looked right in Mike Browns system. Mike Browns system depends on a dominant point guard, and the Lakers are a team without a dominant point guard who cant afford a dominant point guard because they built a team for A DIFFERENT OFFENSE!

    Mike Brown has never worked with the pieces he’s been given he’s simply made the claim his system wont work without the pieces he needs. That being said, i would take any coach who wants to run this current team in the triangle offense over Mike Brown. Unfortunately i’m just a fan.

    • mytthor - May 12, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      The Lakers no longer have the pieces to run the triangle. Bynum is now their second best player and he isn’t a good or decisive enough passer to play Shaq’s role. Sessions is talented as a pick and roll guy but not a spot up shooter and not a long defender.

      And also, Mike Brown has never had a dominant point guard, why do you think he needs one now?

      It’s too late to go back to the triangle. And there’s no one to coach it, unless you think Kurt Rambis is the second coming.

    • starks3 - May 12, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      Lets talk what the lakers had after last day of reg. season. The second leading scorer in nba by the smallest margin in nba history of being #1 (kobe), The best big going once Howard went down (Bynum) and arguably the 5-6 best big in the league (pau). There is no reason this series should have gone 7. The Lakers have a signifcant edge starter for starter at the 2,4,5 position over denver. Denver kills them at the 3 with Galo, and def a better Pg with Lawson. It comes down to Mike Brown being out coached by George Karl who is def. a more seasoned better coach than Brown.

  10. ncarolinarn7 - May 12, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Mike who???

    • 00maltliquor - May 12, 2012 at 3:03 PM

      Mike Joooooooones!!!!

  11. mungman69 - May 12, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Matt Moore writes again. Two stories? Enough is enough.
    The Lakers won’t get out of the west. And it doesn’t matter cause the Heat can’t be beat. They are just much better than any other team.

  12. rajbais - May 12, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    I agree!!!

    He inherited a capable team in Cleveland!!!

    In 2005, Paul Silas was thrown under the bus by Jim Paxson after Paxson traded a 1st Round pick for Jiri Welsch!!!! Welsch’s presence messed up the Cavs’ playoff chances and Silas got fired before the season ended!!!!

    Plus, do championship head coaches kiss their star player’s face after scoring 48 in Game 3 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals????

  13. isujames - May 12, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Man GTFOH, so m brown will be gone if they lose the 7th game to the Nuggets, why???? Is it because they are @ home and they should beat the nuggets???If so that is some BS because they are not the 1st,2nd,3rd, or even 4th best team in the league.The truth is they want to get rid of m brown and losing this game 7 @ home would be the best time.

  14. zxrated - May 12, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Unfortunately Magic is probably right about the possible changes. I for one am sick and tired of the spoiled brat Lakeshow front running fans! Brown inherited only parts of a complete mess of a team Phil Jackson FAILED with last season. Bynum was the immature player he is for 6 years under Phil. Gasol came up soft two of his four years under Phil. Kobe threw Bynum under the bus in 07 which is the main reason Bynum has no true loyalty to the Laker organization. Laker fans want to dump on Brown for all of the dysfunction that exisited under Phil’s watch?!? Again Brown inherited this mess! Phil Jackson, arguably the greatest NBA HC of all left Brown with this hot mess he couldn’t fix last year in a season where he had better seasoned parts that played in the proven triangle system most fans are begging a return too. Brown was hired to implement a new era but did not have the proper time to get to know his players or teach his system.

    Jimmy Buss was correct in trying to blow this roster up after Phil left. Brown did more with less in Cleveland because he had young players that were willing to sell out in effort. Browns downfall in LA is not being able to get old dogs to be willing to learn new tricks. That’s not his fault!

  15. kinggw - May 12, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    I see a lot of denial in this room. Brown may ultimately lose his job if the Lakers lose tonight, but he isnt the reason why the Lakers are underachieving. I am reading complaints about the system and Brown being a horrible coach, did anyone consider that this Laker team as currently constructed is done? They have Kobe, Bynum and Gasol and little else. Gasol and others struggled in last years playoffs when they still had the triangle in place so Laker fans need to find another excuse. The Lakers are a victim of their personnel. They are old, slow and dont have an answer for teams that run. Brown is the convenient scapegoat but I dont believe another coach could have produced better results under the same circumstances.

  16. 11jlacy - May 12, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Very important game for the whole squad its time to man up!!!!!!

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