Monday, May 30, 2011

Lakers admit mistake in not involving Kobe Bryant in coaching search

Kobe Bryant, Mike Brown, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Celtics News, State of the Celtics

The second that the Los Angeles Lakers hired Mike Brown as their new head coach, one thing entered the minds of every basketball fan.

How does Kobe feel about this?

Nobody outside of the Lakers organization knows the answer to that just yet.  Kobe's been very silent since his team's elimination at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks and Brown admitted that he hasn't even talked to him yet except for a few text messages around the time of the hire.  It was apparent that he was a big fan of Brian Shaw and the last time I checked, Brown and Shaw are two different people.

Whether Kobe's on board with Brown is a mystery, even to Lakers executive Jim Buss who hired Brown in the first place.  Buss admitted that he didn't speak at all with Bryant about his preference of coaches and didn't notify him about the potential signing of Brown.  Buss, the son of owner Jerry Buss, is now having some second thoughts about not involving Kobe in the coaching search. (ESPN)

"Looking back on it, we should have contacted Kobe," Jim Buss said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that ran Saturday night. "Kobe said it was management's job to pick a coach. He just said, 'Defense first.' That's what we were doing, but we should have reached out to him."

"The way Mike impressed the three of us, I would think Kobe would be impressed as well," Buss said. "Mike is a workaholic and Kobe is the workaholic."

131-92.  122-86.  These would be the scores from the last two games in which the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs, first from the Celtics in the Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals and the second from this season against Dallas.  When the going got tough—under Phil Jackson, mind you—the Lakers packed it in and went home.  There was no overcoming adversity with this crew.  Instead, they stopped trying and, in the Dallas game, tried to be fake tough guys and injure everyone and anyone before heading to vacation.

Let's rewind to last season.  Cavaliers and Celtics in Game 6 of the second round.  The Cavs were being coached by Mike Brown and the league's MVP was on their side.  Down by nine with just over a minute left and their season on life support, Cleveland packed it in.  They didn't foul when they had the chance to and they walked the ball up the floor like it was the second quarter of a game in February.  Brown couldn't scream loud enough or motion for his team to foul hard enough to get his guys to try to salvage what was left of their year.  They tuned him out.  They weren't willing to fight until the end for him.

So the Lakers alienated their franchise player and told Bryant's favorite, "Thanks, but no thanks" in order to bring a coach with a history of losing his players to a team with a history of giving up when things get hard.  I understand that they wanted a defensive-minded coach and all and Brown is a very good defensive coach.  Heck, LeBron credited him for the defense he's playing now (although he couldn't do that in Cleveland for some reason).

But if you have one of the greatest players in the history of the game on your side, you better go talk to him and see what he's looking for in a coach.  I mean, let's face it.  Kobe is the on-floor coach of the Lakers regardless of who is standing on the sideline.  His teammates admire him and fear him at the same time.  He's the guy that the rest of the team feeds off of.  If Kobe doesn't trust Brown's system, neither will the rest of the Lakers.  Brown doesn't have a history of winning anything significant in the NBA, he doesn't have a championship pedigree and he's not from the Lakers' system.

Is there a chance that this could actually work out for the Lakers?  Yeah.

Is there a greater chance that this could explode in the faces of the Buss family.  You bet.

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