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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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  1. what a nightmare of a season…..


  2. Jim Buss inspires fear because he is an unknown, and because the mass media is unleashing an offensive on him (we’re definitely influenced by the media). I’m worried, but I think we should adopt a wait-and-see on both Buss and Brown.

    If we’re already blaming Buss for “supposedly” being unwilling to trade Bynum for Howard, then shouldn’t we also give him credit for not being willing to trade Bynum for Kidd or Jermaine O’Neal? Why do we give credit for the good stuff to Mitch, and blame Jimbo for the bad?

    Also, according to Dr. Buss, Jim has held sway over 80% of the team decisions since 2005ish. The team’s done fairly well over that span.

    So I get that we’re all worried about this new era thing (I definitely felt that way yesterday). And I definitely don’t like laying off the support staff. But looking at some of Lazenby’s tweets, I really wonder if it’s too early to bury Jim Buss.

    But I’ll admit I’m definitely concerned if it’s true Jim Buss makes decisions without consultation. Jerry Buss’s greatness was that he hired great basketball minds and let them run the show.


  3. The pressure is already “ON” on Mike Brown and he hasn’t signed the contract yet. How would he react in reading unfavorable comments from NBA pundits, fans and Laker legends, maybe he’ll regard them all as a bunch of pessimists? Well, there exist an opt-out clause without the dried ink signature on the contract that is, if the elder Buss will intervene and overrule his son’s choice.

    Mitch and Jimbo could have just hired an unknown Euro league coach, Ettore Messina as the head coach, at least it is a breath of fresh air with a clean slate of possible new beginnings. With Mike B. he may have the pedigree of Pops being his assistant but his resume as a “perrenial loser” in Cleveland, with lots of skeletons in the closet with uncanny relationship with Lebron, how can he handle this Laker crowd who have all the pedigree as pseudo-GMs? They were taught to sophistication by excellent teachers from Jerry West, Magic, late Chicky baby and the latest is Zen Coaching? Mike B is fitting in huge shoes or may have just entered a new twilight zone in his coaching career.


  4. Thank you Snoopy, if at least for a balanced view of things. if he doesn’t do a good job, he’s gonna go, if he does, there will be some of us who have been cheering him on, if only because he is the new Lakers coach, and I love the idea of our team becoming an even stronger defensive identity just think about that for a second. our team is not really that old, even the great Gary Vitti(sincerely) said much of what we saw was due to fatigue.
    Now as far as the FO and if things are as Snoopy noted, in which Jim has been overseeing %80 of the operations since 05 this is just another move of his to keep the team successful, and like his pops, Jerry, he has a little the risk taking gene in him. with the goal of having the team to always be at the fore-front of the league.
    I am Certain in the next couple months there we will here other surprising changes, I bet(hope) a new speedy pg. and a tweak here and there, here is hoping for a great next year of basketball – Lakers all the day.


  5. A lot of great articles linked above and I wish I had read them befor penning my own diatribe. But I didn’t and regardless, my feelings remain the same – trainwreck up ahead.


  6. This new Jim Buss era thing, Kobe/Brown potential strenuous relationship is just overblown.

    This is more residual panic and frustration left over from the playoffs than anything else. I do think the lakers should have called Kobe and said hey what do you think about Mike Brown and that’s all. But the belief is that they didn’t take Kobe’s opinion in to consideration. Well that’s completely untrue. Kobe wanted a defensive coach, they got the best one available. Kobe doesn’t want to be micro-managed well they didn’t get Dunleavy or Gundy. Kobe doesn’t want an uptempo style of play, well they didn’t get Alderman. I know Kobe wanted Shaw. But looking at how poorly the lakers responded to Jackson and Shaw as his right hand, I completely understand why they would go in a different direction. Yes, Kobe would’ve responded to Shaw, but what about the other guys?

    And if Kobe doesn’t embrace Brown, it’s on Kobe. If the infighting starts, Kobe will be blamed, the lakers will lose, and Kobe will end his career exactly how he doesn’t want to. Lebron would be the consensus best player since Jordan. Kobe would be again called selfish and uncoachable. Kobe would hear, “he can’t win without phil jackson” without a chance to prove otherwise. If Mike Brown is as intelligent as everyone says he is, he’ll learn from Kobe and Kobe will learn from Brown.

    As far as the concern about the offense, Mitch siad Triangle offense won’t be completely abandoned. Which is good because when it’s executed properly, it emphasizes the lakers strengths. On the other hand, the lakers became too predictable and teams figured out how to stop them. Learning a new offense and defense,but still being able to utilize what they already will get the lakers reengaged and focused which will benefit them in the long run.


  7. Well this one of the few brilliant articles. This hiring and how it all went down is a big sign the Lakers are telling Kobe this is or soon will be Andrew Bynum’s team. It should be no surprise to Kobe… After all the Lakers chose him over Shaq when the big fella was past his prime. Turn about is fair play…


  8. The fact that he has not signed the contract is evidence enough that he does not have the intestinal fortitude to coach the Lakers. This little heat has gotten to him. He’s another Rudy.


  9. Aaron

    I hope Jim realizes this is NOT the Andrew Bynum era just yet. Kobe certainly doesn’t think so. I mean the big difference between the start of the Kobe era and right now is that Kobe was already a proven superstar coming off a 30 7 and 6 season a year earlier in 03′. Bynum is a good and improving player, but still hasn’t reached his “potential”. Of all the potential relationship issues that have been discussed, the real issue could be between JIm and Kobe, but as of right now I still think everyone is overreacting to everything.


  10. I think we Laker fans are letting the Hollywood/drama side of us get too carried away. Kobe has three years left on his current contract and probably the same amount of time left to be an impact player. No way Kobe throws a season away trying to show up Mike Brown. This is still a team with a championship core. Obviously the team needs some tweaking and shuffling on the roster. But its not like the Lakers are going to miss the playoffs next season (if there is a next season). Even with their current composition they are still a 50+ win team. With a little new blood and a refined approach to offense they should be in striking distance of the title again next season.

    We Laker fans need to get ourselves under control. We can’t worry about behind the scenes control issues. We assume Jim Buss is some power freak. We really no nothing of substance about the man. That assumption is incomplete at this point. We also assume there were no issues behind closed doors during the title runs. Maybe there were issues, but they just didn’t derail the product on the court. So eve if there are some issues going on that doesn’t mean the organization is burning to the ground before our eyes. Things will settle down and clarity will come. Wow, I’m sounding like a psychologist. I just think we Laker fans need to take a collective deep breath.


  11. BK says of the Brown/James years, “Some of those guys just weren’t very good. He won’t have that problem in L.A..”

    well, I’m afraid that’s exactly one problem here – I’m lookin’ at you, bench mob (and Fish.. and RA).


  12. 9)
    No question this isn’t Bynum’s team yet… But the writing looks like it is on the wall.


  13. I am ok with Brown. The fact he is avdefensive coach means no more Fisher losing his man on defense. No more Shannon fouling people on 3 pointers and no more Gasol standing and watching on pick and rolls. I see big turnover coming. Either D. Will or a trade with Cleveland for top pick( point guard) and Anderson Varajio who actually will go after a rebound and play defense. He of course is a Brown guy. Shaw would have meant the same old thing, Kobe going one on 5 while the others watched. This team MUST get younger, quicker and more athletic!


  14. Interesting video, but I wonder if star players are usually involved in any aspect with the hiring of coaches.