||11-09-2012 07:50 PM
Lakers fire Mike Brown
Rough start for us this season...
Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown has been fired after a disappointing 1-4 start to the season, the team announced on Friday.
Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will take over as interim coach for Friday night's home game against the Warriors.
"This was a difficult and painful decision to make," general manager Mitch Kupchak said, according to the team's website. "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 have not decided yet whether to hire a more established head coach or continue on with Bickerstaff. A source indicated that this decision was more about Brown's performance than an eagerness to pursue one of the veteran coaches who are currently available, such as Phil Jackson, Mike D'Antoni, Nate McMillan or Jerrry Sloan. However it is unlikely Bickerstaff would be the long-term option.
Earlier Friday, sources had told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the team was using its upcoming six-game homestand to evaluate Brown, but after numerous discussions over the past 48 hours, Lakers management came to a unanimous decision that the team clearly wasn't heading in the right direction and it was best to fire him now.
The decision is in keeping with the Lakers "win now" mentality after acquiring Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in blockbuster trades this summer. Relieving Brown of his duties now also comes at a substantial cost as he was in just the second year of a four-year, $18 million deal. The final year of that contract was only partially guaranteed.
The Lakers have had a healthy Nash in the lineup for only 1½ of their five games so far thanks to a leg injury, while Howard has acknowledged that he's still recovering from the back surgery that brought a premature end to his 2011-12 campaign and knocked him out of the London Olympics. Kobe Bryant has also been playing through a foot ailment.
The Lakers are off to the worst start in the Western Conference despite carrying the league's largest payroll at just over $100 million, which would trigger an estimated luxury-tax bill at season's end of nearly $30 million.
The team has also been trying to institute a form of the Princeton offense, a system that relies on reads and ball sharing in order to take some of the offensive load off Bryant. But the talented Lakers went 0-8 during the preseason for the first time in franchise history before stumbling into the regular season with an 0-3 start. After finally winning last Sunday, the Lakers looked listless again in a loss at Utah on Wednesday.
Not only did the new offense not appear to suit his players' talents, the Lakers also played spotty defense, Brown's specialty.
The Lakers reached the second round of the playoffs last season in Brown's first year. The former Cleveland Cavaliers coach replaced Jackson, the 11-time NBA champion.
Lakers legend Magic Johnson reacted to the firing on Twitter.
"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," he tweeted.
As for possible replacements, Johnson tweeted: "I'd love to see Phil Jackson or Brian Shaw. Wish Pat Riley was available."
Originally Posted by Well That was fast
The Lakers fired Mike Brown just five games into their 82-game regular season after a 1-4 start. Just how fast of a firing was it based on percentage of the season played compared to other sports? Here's a look:
• NFL coach getting fired before the end of the 1st game (with 1:28 left, to be precise)
• MLB manager getting fired in the 8th inning of the 10th game
• College football coach getting fired before the end of the 3rd quarter in the 1st game (assuming a 12-game season)
• College basketball coach getting fired before the 2nd game ends (assuming a 30-game schedule)
• Premier League manager getting fired in the 1st half of the 3rd game (38-game schedule) -- ESPN Stats & Information
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