Lakers slam panic button in harsh firing of Mike Brown
by Shaun Powell, Sports on Earth
You didn’t need a Princeton degree to know this wasn’t working.
So the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t just push the panic button, they pounded it harder than a Kobe Bryant stare after losing four of five games to start the season. Mike Brown is now the victim of the fastest in-season coach firing in NBA history, no surprise since everything about the retooled Lakers is on the stopwatch, specifically their chances of winning a title and now finding the right fit at coach.
Another tour of duty for Phil Jackson would be the logical choice, but his body suffers from the ravages of time and wear and he recently said he couldn’t physically deal with the rigors of travel and life on the road. Just the same, Mike D’Antoni, who coached Steve Nash with the Phoenix Suns and Bryant on the Olympic team, recently had knee replacement surgery and indicated he wouldn’t be 100% physically until around the holidays.
The only other unemployed veteran coaches are Nate McMillan, also an assistant on Team USA, and Jerry Sloan, although both probably qualify as secondary candidates. Whatever path the Lakers take, this much is clear: They can’t afford to make a mistake, not with their timetable, and not after what just happened with Brown.
For a team that added Nash and Dwight Howard to Bryant and Pau Gasol to make noise in June, there is chaos all around the franchise now, the Lakers creating buzz for all the wrong reasons. It’s not that many will fault them for firing Brown and dumping his highly controversial Princeton offense, though Stan Van Gundy told the Orlando Sentinel it was “the most ridiculous firing in the history of the NBA.” It’s just that the most anticipated Laker season in years is suddenly shrouded in question, if not doubt.
The franchise is also reeling from a pair of embarrassing episodes, first when Jim Buss, who’s running the team, refused to hire the Kobe-recommended Brian Shaw two summers ago and went with Brown instead. And then again, when Buss recently gave Brown a vocal vote of confidence and telling everyone to be … [For more on Lakers slam panic button in harsh firing of Mike Brown, click here.]