How do you describe the feeling of being totally shocked and yet not shocked at all? That was my immediate reaction to USA Today’s breaking news that the Lakers have fired head coach Mike Brown today after he led the team to a miserable 1-4 start to this season.

Did most of us see this coming? Sure, we did. Did anyone besides the most reactionary, over-entitled Lakers fan really believe team management would pull the plug on him just five discombobulated games into this latest grand experiment in superstar stacking? I should hope not. Because this is more than a little ridiculous.

Just over 24 hours ago, Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss gave Brown the always-dreaded vote of confidence, saying “I have no problems with Mike Brown at all. He just works too hard and he’s too knowledgeable for this to be happening.” Either that was a bold-faced lie by Buss — a definite possibility to be sure — or somebody else with influence inside the Lakers organization had a vastly different view of Brown’s coaching acumen.

Pretty much everyone is going to presume that Kobe Bryant is behind this, and with good reason. Kobe appeared to give Brown a “death stare” in the closing seconds of the Lakers’ loss to the Jazz on Wednesday, and there’s also the fact that we’re talking about the most cold-blooded MFer in the NBA. Whether or not Kobe is behind this (and come on… of course he is), Brown was doomed from the start when he took this job in June 2011, because he was following in the footsteps of Phil Jackson, who brought the Lakers five championships and never had a losing record in 11 seasons at the helm. How do you follow a living legend like that and survive without going to at least the Conference Finals every season?

After the Lakers lost in five games to the Thunder in the 2012 Western Conference Semifinals and then stumbled out of the gate this season, the answer is: You don’t. I maintain that while Mike Brown is clearly not a great coach, he’s also not a complete disaster. Before Lakers fans rally behind Mike D’Antoni as the seemingly obvious “Winston Wolf from Pulp Fiction” fixer of this mess, let us not forget how poorly his stint with the Knicks went. Also, he just had knee surgery two weeks ago so he might not even be a feasible immediate replacement.

One interesting option as a coach who is available and could probably command Kobe’s respect is Jerry Sloan. The question there is how Dwight Howard would respond to Sloan yelling at him all the time. Still, he’s an intriguing possibility and you have to assume he would be given significantly more time than Brown was granted to figure out how to get the most out of the considerable talent on this team.

What about Phil Jackson himself? It’s widely believed that his body can’t withstand a full season of travel at his age, but I know better than to write him off completely. The opportunity to swoop in and remind everyone of his genius at managing the egos of superstars like Howard and Bryant has to be enticing to him. We all know that having to back a Brinks truck up to Phil Jackson’s mansion to get him to return will not be an obstacle for the Lakers.

But that’s all speculation at this point, isn’t it? This post is meant to be a eulogy for the NBA coaching career of Mike Brown, who probably won’t be offered another head coaching job after such a spectacular flame-out. Alas, his crime was not having the accomplishments and the aura of the most-renowned coach in the history of the NBA. His sentence was a lethal bite to the jugular from The Black Mamba.

Comments (29)

  1. The choice is obvious: it’s time for Dwight and Stan to squash the beef and become best friends forever.

  2. No Scott, his crime was the inability to lead and coach a team of hall-of-famers. Make no mistake, not a single Laker fan out there was excited when they learned Brown was chosen and not Rick Adelman. That was a huge misstep by the Laker front office…or perhaps Adelman wasn’t interested in working with Kobe?

    You’d be hard-pressed to find a true analyst who would declare Brown’s coaching strategy and style great. Instead he bumbled his way through last year, and stumbled straight into the ground this year. Jim Buss has some responsibility here, if he couldn’t win in Cleveland with Lebron, why would you be surprised when he couldn’t win in LA? Brown showed you his cards already.

    I, for one, welcome Jerry Sloan with open arms as the next Lakers head coach. We won’t see Phil Jackson, and I think that’s for the best. D’Antoni? Maybe? I don’t think Nash would balk to that option. Sure would be fun to watch. Defense would be up to the individuals though.

    • Man i agree with you 100%. Brown isnt a good enough coach and he didnt seem to have the respect of the players… (LOOK AT ANDREW BYNUM) he is suppose to be a defensive specialist, with 2 GREAT defenders on the team, and what have they shown? This was a great move, they should have done it before the season started. And Sloan would be a PERFECT person for the job. he can get the most of crappy players, and maybe he will finally win coach of the year!

      • what two great defenders are left on the Lakers? There’s really just Howard… Nash is a sieve and Kobe is below average in terms of laterla quickness at this point. Metta can still body up bigger guys but he’s not what he used to be. Gasol is decent but not doesn’t excel. and Blake, Jamison et al are atrocious.

  3. Kobe would love Sloan. Dwight and Pau might be too sensitive for him. _’Antoni means no rings and Nash will get run into the ground.

  4. I would pay $80 for them to hire SVG and blow Dwight’s mind.

  5. D’Antoni would be a horrible choice. The defense has been bad enough with a supposed defensive specialist coaching.

    B-Shaw?

  6. I think it’s quite unfair of you to blame the Knicks’ poor performance on D’Antoni. The Knicks traded away a fun, fast team helmed by Stoudemire for Carmelo. I thought it was a bad trade then and I still think so. Yes, the Knicks look good now that they have reorganized the entire game around Melo, but the season is long. I hope Mike D gets the chance to show what he can do in LA.

    • Jerry,
      Totally nailed it in the first part.
      D’Antoni was given crappy rosters after crappy rosters in NYK and actually managed to have some fairly decent teams on the floor from time to time.
      When Melo got there, he was given a crappy roster with a superstar who actively played against him (see Melo’s “Now I might actually try to defend” comment when D’Antoni left). Scott, you really need to step up on these random lazy comments.
      That said, D’Antoni not the man for LA now.

  7. Credit to the Buss kids for giving up on the mistake.

    How funny would it be if SVG got hired….D12 showed up at the press conference all mean mugging like he’s going to knock him out……….then they both turn to the camera and say “SIKE….WE FOOLED YOU BITCHES” followed by dropping the mics and walking off laughing. (Biggest NBA Troll Job Ever?)

  8. Is a ‘bold-faced like’ some sort of new Facebook feature?

  9. The problem with Lakers’ slow start has more to do with defense, Howard isn’t defending like he was before the injury. If he went back to form their defense would improve leaps, but still really crappy on the perimeter just cause their guards and wings are too old. But at least they would be better on pick and roll defense (Howard’s specialty but he hasn’t been doing that at all this year).

    As for offense… D’antoni would make them entertaining and I’d love a reunion of him and Nash. Defense will take care of itself when Howard is completely healthy.

  10. The Notorious SVG called this “”the most ridiculous firing in the history of the NBA.”

  11. Obviously the Lakers are terrible on defense and that won’t change until Dwight gets back to 100% or until they get a coach that can actually motivate them.

    My problem is with this notion that the Lakers offense has been “good”. Which is true, it has been “good”. But I think Kobe has been covering up for an offense that would be middle of the pack without his stellar play. Does anyone really think that he is going to continue to average .56-.43-.92 from the floor?!

    Taking the offense out of Nash’s hands for the entire season simply wasn’t smart basketball. And Brown, a good defensive coach, couldn’t do anything with this team. If that’s the case then it was time for him to go. Well it was time for him to not have been hired in the first place, but honestly who cares?

  12. they should have never hired Brown in the first place, every laker fan I know thought we should have hired adelman. Fans around the league were thankful the lakers hired brown because he’s a sorry coach. Just because he coached under pop doesn’t make him a good coach

  13. This is ridiculous.. 5 games in. I am not a lakers fan but this is stupid. I am a bit shocked.

  14. Some might say it’s an overreaction, but Brown didn’t do anything to earn respect and make anyone say “he deserves to be the coach of the Lakers”. ANyways he’s getting paid $22 million to sit around for 2 years – not a a bad gig if you ask me.

  15. Anyone that runs Steve Blake out there for 37 mins deserves to be fired.

  16. Such a kobe hater. Get off it.

  17. Just gonna say that D’Antoni seems like a terrible choice, even considering his history with Nash. I don’t see D’Antoni as someone who will be capable of limiting Kobe’s shooting/tendency to do whatever he wants, regardless of the good of the team. If the Lakers decide to go that direction, I think you see Kobe taking 25-30 shots a game, and I don’t think that’s the way this team wins.

    Also, it seems like the problem was more defensive than offensive…and do you remember how bad those Suns and Knicks defenses were?

  18. I’m available to coach. While I don’t have much NBA experience, I did come off the bench for my eighth grade basketball team. I know that doesn’t sound impressive, but instead of playing beyond those years, I retired to spend more time with my family.

  19. lets be really guys.. lakers need an internal hire. I nominate Chaz. the Guy can serve up motivation when things are bleak and already knows how to handle the booooooooze…

    #PUNGUNME

  20. Firing a guy 5 games into the season may seem ridiculous, fr sure, but the guy maybe shoiuld have been fired over the summer, in the course of last season, or even never been hired in the 1st place…

  21. man i saw this coming, that is just how the Lakers front office rolls!

  22. Young talented coach able to handle the egos welcome to LA David blatt

  23. Andy Starr – I agree. I don’t believe this is an overreaction to the first 5 games. This was always on the cards if he didnt perform this year. It’s a carry over from last year. He impressed nobody last year. Benchplay and turnovers were a huge problem last year – he has done nothing to improve that and get the best out of his players.

    I can only imagine what a coach like monty williams or alvin gentry could do with this roster. Never liked the Brown hire and i figured he would get fired at some point this year – cool lakers got dwight and nash but i always felt brown was the weakest link.

    Goodbye spit cup.

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