After the hiring of new head coach Mike Brown and Kobe’s subsequent silence, there was lots of discussion about whether or not Brown would be able to command the kind of respect need to, for a lack of a better word, control the Lakers super star. Because of the well documented history of Kobe’s career, a lot of these assumptions were taken as fact without the Lakers playing a single game, much less Brown coaching a single practice.
A couple days ago, David Brickly of Laker Nation pointed out that Kobe addressed the Mike Brown hiring for the firs time during his interview with ESPN.
Bryant was asked about new head coach Mike Brown and the level of communication the two have had:
We’ve talked. We’ve met, we’ve talked several times, met several times. We have been in dialogue there has been an open dialogue.”
George Smith then asked Kobe’s thoughts on Brown as the Lakers new Head Coach:
He just seems like the type of coach that buttons everything up, so I think as players we’ll all be happy.”
While Bryant didn’t offer much to the discussion and there is little to be read into those words per se, Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball talk made an interesting point about Kobe’s silence and the Lakers future:
But in the end, he and the veterans on the Lakers will get behind Brown. Because they have no choice. Their window is nearing an end, they have a couple more years and then it’s time to rebuild. They don’t have time to waste a year bickering with a coach. Fall in line or watch the window close. You don’t have to like Jim Buss working hard to divorce the Lakers from the Phil Jackson era — to assert his authority over sister Jeanie, even if it means kissing a system that wins goodbye — but you have to accept it.
Despite the coaching change, this is still a Lakers team built around an aging Kobe Bryant, which means this is a team built to win championships now. Any time spent not buying into Mike Brown’s system is time wasted by a team that has the right pieces to contend for a championship (point guard upgrade or not). We’re several years removed from the days when Kobe was bickering with Phil Jackson, and I think it’s reasonable to assume that he’s matured enough to understand that he has no choice but to work with Coach Brown to the best of their collective abilities to try and bring Larry O’ Brien back to Los Angles.
Because of these reasons, I think getting Kobe on his page will remain the least of his problems. As I’ve before, bringing this team together as a whole might be Brown’s toughest job come next season, if there is a next season. The Lakers will still need to make some minor roster changes, figure out ways to best utilize the talent that they do have and find a defensive scheme that works for all. There is going to be a lot of work to get done for this team before they start playing any meaningful games. Both Brown and Kobe have said that they have been in communication, and it’s hard to imagine that communication being anything less than productive as they’re both brilliant basketball minds. At this point, I don’t see much to suggest that Brown is going to have trouble corralling Kobe. I could be proven wrong, but it seems highly unlikely.