Lakers Press the Early Panic Button
By: Matt Blue
So much for that vote of confidence Lakers owner Jerry Buss gave Mike Brown 48 hours ago. After a 1-4 start to the season, the Lakers abruptly decided to cut ties with the Lakers much maligned head coach. According to Yahoo Sports ,Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was not exactly on board with the early season firing. It is being reported that he lobbied for Lakers ownership to give Mike Brown at least another week to right the ship.
However, the Lakers were running out of patience and they wanted to get a jump start on the coaching search. The team is hoping that firing Brown sooner rather than later will give the players plenty of time to adapt to a new coach’s system and overall philosophy.
The Lakers have no issue whatsoever buying out the 11 million left on Brown’s contract. Also the Lakers will spend whatever amount of money is needed in order to lure a head coach to LA.
Lakers assistant Bernie Bickerstaff has been handpicked to oversee the team’s head coaching duties on an interim basis.
One prominent name that has been internally discussed in the Lakers inner circle is former Suns and Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni. It is believed that D’Antoni would accept the job without any hesitation if it is offered to him.
There is a tremendous amount at stake for the Lakers this season since they are in win now mode. After acquiring top tier talent such as Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in blockbuster trades this summer, expectations are at an all time high. Patience is not a virtue right now for the Lakers. Only winning is.
The Lakers have only had a healthy Nash for a total of 1 ½ games ,thanks to a leg injury that has sidelined him. Also, Dwight Howard is still known to be in the recovery stages of back surgery. With all of the health issues that have surrounded the Lakers so far this season, the dismissal of Brown has been regarded as quite a shock . From a Lakers perspective, they currently hold the worst record in the Western conference with the league’s largest payroll at just over $100 million. The Lakers will have a hefty luxury tax bill of $30 million at the end of the year.
As the Lakers try and salvage the season, it will be interesting to see where they go from here. Who will they ultimately hire to replace Brown and what kind of system changes will be made? These are the two biggest lingering questions moving forward for LA.