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Lakers fire coach Mike Brown five games into season

Nov 9, 2012, 1:21 PM EDT

Mike Brown AP

I guess he doesn’t get a home stand to work this out.

The Lakers have fired Mike Brown, as first reported by Sam Amick of USA Today (who got it from Brown’s agent) and now the Lakers have confirmed this. Brown had three years left on a guaranteed $18 million deal. To eat all that cash shows you how badly the Lakers wanted a change.

“This was a difficult and painful decision to make,” Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said in a released 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.”

The Lakers started the season 1-4 but that doesn’t really do justice to how ugly it has been. They were struggling on defense (Brown’s strong suit) and they were turning the ball over one in every five times down the court as they were dealing with the complexity of the new hybrid-Princeton offense Brown installed. There were questions about Brown’s ability to turn this around but it was thought he would get a chance. Even Jim Buss — the guy running the team — talked patience in the last 48 hours. But that vote of confidence was a kiss of death.

Laker management, after watching Brown last season and the start of this, decided he is not the man for the job.

This kind of change doesn’t happen without Kobe Bryant and other Lakers stars requesting if not signing off on it. Not this early in the season.

To be fair, Brown hasn’t had a full team to work with. Dwight Howard missed much of training camp returning from back issues, Kobe Bryant is battling a sore foot and Steve Nash has only played one-and-a-half of the Lakers five games this season. It’s hard to ask any coach to win a lot in that circumstance.

But there were questions around this team and Brown coming into the season and clearly Lakers management reached its decision and acted quickly.

As for potential replacements, Bernie Bickerstaff will coach the team in the interim but a “national search” for a new coach will be conducted, the team says.

There also are some name free agent coaches out there — Mike D’Antoni (who has a great relationship with Steve Nash and Kobe, but also had knee replacement surgery in the last few weeks and is not moving around much for more than a month), Nate McMillan and Jerry Sloan. Don’t bet on a Phil Jackson return, not after Jim Buss purged a lot of Jackson from the organization after he left before the lockout. Same with Brian Shaw, bad blood there. Also, Stan Van Gundy would be a no go, but it would be fun to ask Dwight Howard about it.

It’s hard to imagine the Lakers made this move without thinking about who would be the next coach and having him ready to go. But apparently they did.

  1. philliephaninva - Nov 9, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    I’d like to get paid $18 million for sitting on my ass. Where do I sign up?

  2. scooter2the - Nov 9, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    This a real mess the Lakers have on their hands – Howard needs to come off the Bench behind Gasol and you need some of the younger guys to play defense and protect the ball. .
    There is no chemistry here with these guys and will take about 20 games together to get there.
    They need to take the year to evaluate Howard to see if he will fit long term. He lacks skils in the paint and not the least of which is his passing and court awareness in the paint. Gasol can help move the ball much better and needs the touches to do so. The lack of heart will rear its ugly head before too long. Kobe and Nash can make a dominant back court if they dont have to run the Princeton offense which is what I am sure was looked at before Brown’s firing. Just let them play ball offensively moving it as they should and focus on defense as a coach. They all know how to run pick and role – heck even staggered with Nash – Kobe and Gasol … that would be a powerful weapon with a 3 ball threat.

  3. lemfaxx - Nov 9, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Big mistake

  4. paulhargis53 - Nov 9, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    skids: He’s been in hibernation since the loss vs. Utah.

    His next post will be if the Lakers win tonight. How smart the f.o. is and he trusts Mitch and Jim.
    How the next coach, no matter who it is, is the best ever. His dumbass is so predictable. Blind faith is a terrible thing.

  5. mogogo1 - Nov 9, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    It is awfully early to pull the plug on a coach, but Brown really seemed to be in over his head this year. I don’t know if the pressure of the high expectations got to him or what, but he seemed to be in total panic mode.

    The final straw for me was him saying World Peace was going to get time at shooting guard. Talk about a desperate move with no sight of long-term consequences or the bigger picture. Meeks showed in Philly he can provide 10 ppg and 40% shooting from beyond the arc. He’s the sort of guy any good coach gives a chance to settle in, knowing he’ll be needed. But Brown panics and effectively gives that spot to an aging player who couldn’t play that position even in his prime?

    • lakerfan4life - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:36 PM

      I agree. There were signs that MB was starting to get nervous about his job status and started making bad decisions, and I think the Buss’s could see that it time to step in. It started in the game against the Pistons where he panicked and put Kobe, Pau, and Dwight back in the game unnecessarily. Then he’s talking about replacing Meeks with MWP? In the game against Utah, he played Kobe, Dwight, and Pau, each about 37 minutes. And he didn’t play Meeks at all!

      Nice guy, but THIS Laker team doesn’t have time for nice. They need to start winning now, because otherwise DH will bolt at the end of the season. They have to show him that he’s better off staying.

      Bring back Phil!

  6. emosnar - Nov 9, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Lakers couldn’t go another season with a grown fat baby with glasses as their coach.

  7. ksctychiefs - Nov 9, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    because dwightmare got svg fired in ORL……hey ,LA,how’s that DH thing working out so far?…..PJ better bring a fire proof jacket to LA with him….

  8. thegloriousone - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Kudos to the Lakers for realizing that Brown is a joke so quickly. It was painful watching him waste Lebron.

  9. deathonwings410 - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:51 AM


  10. fashawks8 - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    Dwight Howard, NBA Finals: 0-1
    Dwight Howard, Coaches Fired: 2-2

  11. omniusprime - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    Yes Clueless Clown Brown is gone, gone gone! Isn’t it funny how management always says they have full confidence in some coach just before they fire him? I was thinking that yesterday when watching the game and Bernie Bickerstaff was doing the coaching and I hadn’t heard the joyous news yet that the worst excuse for an NBA coach had been fired.

    I want Jerry Sloan to be hired. The Lakers need a disciplinarian and old veteran at the helm. Jerry Sloan will get more out of this All Star starting Five and horrible bench than any other coach. That jerk Deron Williams chased him out of Utah unfairly and I think Sloan deserves to get a chance at coaching a premier team like the Lakers.

    The next thing the Lakers need to do is fire Steve Flake and bring in Derek Fisher to back up Ancient Nash.

    Go Lakers!!! So Long Loser Brown!!!

  12. mazblast - Nov 10, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    His Kobeness wanted Brown gone, he’s gone. What will His Kobeness’ excuse be when the new coach can’t win with this ancient starting lineup and little or no bench?

    Next question–What magic underwear is Mitch Kupchak wearing, that he always survives these purges? Is his real job to be His Kobeness’ valet and chauffeur?

  13. urodaddy07 - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    I typically hate these mid season firings and the scape-goating of the coach; but this was a coaching issue with the Lakers plain and simple.

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