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Darius Soriano —  May 27, 2011

Fron Kevin Ding, OC Register: Kupchak noted Brown’s pedigree working under Gregg Popovich and Rick Carlisle, but said Phil Jackson’s triangle offense won’t be entirely gone from the Lakers. “The triangle is gone? That’s not true,” Kupchak said. “A lot of the stuff that Mike runs is derivative of the triangle, and he’ll have a lot of stuff that is unique to him.” With regard to Brian Shaw, who was a strong candidate to be promoted from his role as Jackson’s assistant, Kupchak said: “We just thought we needed a new voice with this team. The old staff had been with us for almost 11 years.” Asked if Shaw could remain on staff as a Lakers assistant, Kupchak said that would be Brown’s call. Kupchak did say about Shaw, whose lack of previous head-coaching experience hurt his cause also: “He may end up being the Laker coach one day. But we didn’t feel it was the time right now.”

From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Los Angeles:  It’s not just that Mike Brown isn’t Brian Shaw. It’s really not even about Mike Brown. It’s that Jim Buss, the team’s executive vice president who played the lead role in this coaching search, had a chance to remain in the background with this decision by going with the expected choice in Shaw or an acceptable choice in Rick Adelman, but instead blasted his way out of the dark and hired Brown, a guy with as much to prove as a coach as Buss does as an executive. It may well prove to be a brilliant, career-defining hire for Buss. Brown has a great temperament, is well-respected around the league and has a blue-blood pedigree from the formative years he spent at Gregg Popovich’s side in San Antonio. But right now it just seems like a bold move designed as much to distance the organization from Jackson as it is to start anew. Jim Buss may not have taken to the airwaves like his father Dr. Jerry Buss did Tuesday, he may not even address the media when Brown is formally introduced, but his stamp is all over this hire.

From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Still, real questions remain, from how Brown’s coaching philosophies mesh with current Lakers personnel to his ability to guide a more-or-less ready-made product filled with strong personalities individually and a long history collectively. (On the flip side, zero questions remain about Brown’s ability to knock a job interview out of the park. He should write a book.) I wonder about the process by which he was hired and, even while acknowledging some of the drawbacks of Brian Shaw, what seems to be a driving need to sever the Lakers so cleanly from the Phil Jackson era. Jim Buss clearly sought to make a statement. Only time will tell if he did so for sound reasons. Nonetheless, the days of Mike Brown are here, and with them come a whole host of questions. Here are a few:

From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen & Roll:  Since it became apparent that the Lakers were locked in to Brown as a coach, with Brown similarly locked in to the Lakers as an employer, many smart people have come out with opinions that it could be a successful partnership.  The caveat, of course, is whether Mike Brown can bring Kobe Bryant on board.  After all, it’s become readily apparent that Kobe never even had a chance to voice an opinion on the matter, and it is already well known that Bryant wanted former assistant coach Brian Shaw to get the job, and shared a similar respect for Rick Adelman as well.  Mike Brown?  Kobe said he was “confused” by the hire, and that is where we stand. Still, many smart people think this can work.  So many smart people, in fact, that I can’t help but wonder if they are simply providing market correction for the legions of less informed fans who are so adamantly against the idea.  So let me be one of the few members of the club known as the NBA blogosphere who goes the other way.  Short and sweet, I don’t like this hire, and my reasons have little to do with Mike Brown’s merits as a coach.

From J.A. Adande, TrueHoop: The mistake we made with the Lakers all season long was granting them allowances based on what they’ve done in the past. We ignored warning signs and excused slumps because we had seen them turn it around when it mattered before. We all saw how that turned out in the playoffs. It’s time to apply that lesson to the franchise. It’s clear now that we can no longer give the organization the benefit of the doubt going forward, even though they have been the most successful team in pro sports in the three decades-plus that Jerry Buss has owned the team. If the Lakers don’t want to assign any value to their past, why should anyone else?

From Mark Medina, LA Times Lakers Blog:  The Lakers have already put Bryant on rocky footing with Brown, as mentioned in an earlier post, for their failure to give him a heads-up about the hire. In turn, Bryant declined to comment to Turner, which reported that people close to Bryant say he was confused about the hire, making it understandable that his conversation with Brown was limited to text messaging.  The degree to which Brown is willing to stand up to Bryant when he breaks out of the offense and goes into isolation mode will be critical. Jackson always tried to provide a balance between giving Bryant freedom and constructively criticizing, yet that still proved to be challenging for a coach with 11 championship rings. Given Brown’s less glittering pedigree and the perception that he let LeBron James walk over him, Bryant will surely test Brown at some point. It’s critical that the new coach stand up for himself and establish a clear understanding with Bryant so their relationship can flourish.

From Dexter Fishmore, SB Nation Los Angeles: And now he’s about to become head coach of the most prestigious hoops team on the planet. The Los Angeles Lakers are close to signing him to a three-year contract, with a team option for a fourth, for salary in the range of $4 to $4.5 million per year. To call this turn of events startling is putting it mildly. A week ago Brown wasn’t even in the discussion about possible successors to Phil Jackson. The idea seemed preposterous: Mike Brown, taking over the Lakers? Why would they ever hire him ahead of Rick Adelman or Brian Shaw? The very concept, I suspect, will disorient me for some time. Adding to the surrealist fog is how a commentariat that spent years, literally years, flogging the guy is now getting on board with his hiring. I’ve spent the past 24 hours taking the temperature of fellow NBA writers, all of whose judgments I really respect, and to my surprise and confusion a loose consensus is forming around the idea that, “You know what? This could work out. Brown’s an underrated coach.” To which I respond: since when, exactly? Are we still talking about the same Mike Brown?

From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: The Lakers should be hesitant to trade Bynum for just about anything. There just are not young, defensive presence centers like this out there and if you don’t think that matters a lot go watch a Dallas Mavericks game with Tyson Chandler. In an era where you can’t touch guys on the perimeter you have to have somebody who can defend the rim. Bynum does that.  Right now Orlando has no interest in a Dwight Howard for Bynum deal and until we all see a new Collective Bargaining Agreement this talk is all moot. That said, if a deal like this could be worked out, the Lakers would be foolish not to think about it. One other little note on Jim Buss: What made Jerry a great owner is that he let his basketball people make the basketball decisions. He set parameters, he got in the very big things (signing Magic Johnson to an extension, forcing the Shaq trade) but for the most part he stayed out of the way. Jim would be wise to follow that counsel.

Finally, the boys at PTI spent their final segment before their big finish questioning whether or not the Lakers should have consulted with Kobe Bryant before hiring Mike Brown. They make some good points, but beyond that, understand that I’m also showing this clip because this is the environment of media attention/criticism that Mike Brown is walking into and Jim Buss will have to make decisions in.


Darius Soriano

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