Head coach Mike Brown is out in Los Angeles, fired today after guiding the star-studded Lakers to a NBA-worst 1-4 record despite their $100-million payroll.
ESPN Los Angeles first reported the firing, the earliest ever to start a Lakers’ season.
“It was a real quick hook, but it was a unanimous hook on the part of management and ownership after watching the way they got off to a 1-4 season,” ESPNLA’s Ramona Shelburne said.
“It just didn’t look like they were making progress.”
The firing comes after blockbuster off-season deals to land two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns and all-star center Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic.
Money doesn’t seem to be the issue.
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The team has the largest payroll in the league, meaning it will likely pay $30 million luxury tax.
Brown, who previously coached LeBron James in Cleveland, signed a three-year, $18-million contract to coach the Lakers.
He was just five games into his second year of that deal, and likely walks with $11 million in his pocket.
It was Brown’s agent, Warren Legarie, who confirmed the move to USA Today.
“Mike just called saying he was relieved of his coaching duties,” Legarie told USA Today’s Sam Amick in a text message.
The Lakers, and Jim Buss, appear to have little patience.
Nash has a badly injured leg, and Howard is still recovering from back surgery this summer that kept him from playing on the gold-medal winning Olympic team in London.
Already, talk has turned to Brown's replacement. Early speculation has former Utah Jazz stalwart Jerry Sloan, ex-Phoenix bench boss Mike D'Antoni or the legend himself, Phil Jackson, the fan favorites.
Brown replaced Jackson, an 11-time NBA champ.
In LA where Kobe Bryant is King, Brown’s “Princeton” style offense that emphasizes movement and ball sharing, plus their lagging defense, likely contributed to his demise.
The LA Times said assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will coach tonight’s game against the Golden State Warriors as the search for a full-time replacement continues.
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