Rumors typically exceed truth. Such has been the case in the Lakers’ search for a new head coach.
First it was Rick Adelman. Then it was Mike Dunleavy and Jeff Van Gundy. Heck, even Jerry Sloan’s name was thrown around as a possibility. Then, in today’s L.A. Times, team president Jim Buss was quoted saying the team was “very close” to hiring its next coach.
Who would it be? Each new rumor was more circumspect than the last. And each, at their best, was a re-tread.
Well what should come across ESPN today? The Lakers have offered a four-year, $18.25 million contract to Mike Brown.
Well as it turns out, Brown, who was last seen coaching the Cleveland LeBrons to an early exit from the 2009-’10 Eastern Conference playoffs, has accepted the Buss family’s offer and will indeed become the 22nd coach in the franchise’s history.
Of all the options the Lakers had — and they had plenty — they chose a coach who at his best was a jester in the court of the King. A pawn whose sole responsibility was protect the team’s (and perhaps the league’s) marquee chess piece.
So what does anyone think will happen when he’s given psuedo-command of team that features yet another self-centered ego-maniac who doesn’t really play well with others?
If you answered anything along the lines of “wilt under the harsh spotlight afforded to Kobe Bryant” then you’re probably right. I mean, if Brown couldn’t win an NBA title with the league’s best player and a decent supporting cast how can he possibly be expected to win with an aging superstar and the league’s best supporting cast?
Is it even reasonable to expect anything more than another second-round sweep next season? Not with Mike Brown.
I’m not advocating for Adelman, Dunleavy or Van Gundy. Nor am I suggesting Sloan would have been the right fit (although his style and substance is worthy of high praise).
They did, however, have the opportunity to hire the next great NBA coach, Brian Shaw, who had seemed to be the heir-apparent to Phil Jackson. But alas, the Buss family never gave Shaw more the a cursory look.
Instead, they’ve settled on a coach with about half-as-much upside as Shaw, and twice the baggage.
Mike Brown? That’s truth circumventing rumor. And not in a good way.