Lakers Reportedly Have New Head Coach

Former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown has reportedly been offered the head coaching position for the Los Angeles Lakers, replacing the retired Phil Jackson, according to ESPN.com. Sources close to the situation told SI’s Sam Amick that Kobe Bryant was “surprised” by the move and was not consulted during the interview process. Bryant is reportedly an avid supporter of assistant coach Brian Shaw, who was granted permission earlier this offseason to interview for a head coaching position elsewhere.

Brown compiled a 211-117 record in his five seasons with the Cavs. His defensive-minded coaching style and experience in managing a superstar may have attracted Lakers brass to him. He reportedly withdrew his name from consideration for the Golden State Warriors job, furthering the speculation that he will become the Lakers new head coach.

Brown is a 2008-2009 coach of the year with a deep pedigree, including two seasons as associate head coach with the Indiana Pacers and assistant coach for three seasons under the tutelage of Gregg Popovich.

Mike Brown is the defensive-minded head
coach the Lakers were searching for.
Still, Lakers fans will have legitimate concerns. Number one: he never won with LeBron. He was widely criticized in the playoffs for being outcoached by Doc Rivers in 2010 and Stan Van Gundy in 2009. Yes, Brown has experience in coaching and managing a superstar. However, it was widely reported that LeBron was coddled during his time in Cleveland. Does Brown have the personality to rein in players with strong personalities? Bryant mentioned in his exit interview that the guys took practices easy because he was not there to push them due to his various ailments. Can Brown instill discipline into a veteran unit with more championship experience than himself? Jackson demanded respect from the Lakers because he went through the wars in Chicago and LA. Eleven rings didn’t hurt either. The Lakers will be unimpressed with Mike Brown’s resume. How will they react?

Yes, Brown emphasizes defense, something the Lakers desperately needed, but Brown’s simple, isolation-style offense was often criticized while in Cleveland. It should be noted that Brown has more talent in LA than in Cleveland so perhaps this concern is moot. We shall see.

If the reports are true, Mike Brown enters a high pressure coaching job with a rabid fanbase that expects championships. He didn’t come through in Cleveland. He will have to come through in Hollywood.

UPDATE: Broderick Turner of the LA Times is reporting Mike Brown’s contract would be in the $4-4.5 million range. The contract would likely be 3 years with a team option on the fourth with partial pay if he is not retained.

UPDATE 2: Mike Brown has agreed to a 4 year $18.25 million contract to become Lakers head coach, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard

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