James: Brown didn’t get ‘fair shake’ in L.A.
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
When something big happens in the NBA, Mark Cuban, Kobe Bryant, a Van Gundy brother and LeBron James get to weigh in.
James, the Miami Heat star, was asked Friday about the firing of Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown, completing the due process. But James also had a lot to add about Brown, who coached him for five years with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I think it’s unfortunate,” James said after a win at the Atlanta Hawks (via ESPN). “I just don’t think he got a fair shake, honestly. With the shortened season last year, and five games into this year, he didn’t really get a full season.”
Brown coached the Lakers for 71 games, so James has a point. But he and Brown have a long and convoluted history. The Cavaliers fired Brown after the 2009-10 season, in which Cleveland posted an NBA-best 61-21 record but collapsed in the second round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics.
One reported reason behind Brown’s firing was James’ distaste for the coach’s system. James was a free agent, and Cleveland wanted to keep the NBA MVP. Tell us if you’ve heard this story.
“I’ve got a lot to say, but I’m not going to say it right now,” James said. “I wish him the best, but I just think it’s unfortunate and it’s just, you know, how the league is. They can do what they want to do.”
James and Brown took an otherwise-weak Cavs team to the 2007 NBA Finals, where it was ripped apart methodically by the San Antonio Spurs in a four-game sweep.