See the update at the end of this post about the Lakers hiring a new coach, a Mike Brown spotting near my house and threats his son received.
ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 9, 1:29 P.M.: An Anaheim Hills dad is going to have more time to watch his son play for basketball powerhouse Mater Dei High School of Santa Ana.
That's because Mike Brown has been fired as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
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Yes, just days after superstar Kobe Bryant of Newport Coast publicly displayed frustration and glared at legendary coach Phil Jackson's successor, general manager Mitch Kupchak has revealed what Brown is doing for him lately.
Kupchak just finished addressing the media on live TV. He said he has no new permanent coach ready to name yet, handing over the reigns for now to interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff. The GM essentially said he told Bickerstaff, a 14-year NBA coaching veteran who will be on the sidelines tonight, that the team does not plan to give him the job permanently but stranger things have happened in this league.
A short list Kupchak says he is putting together of new coaches does not exclude Jackson, the GM revealed.
“You know what, we're just looking at everything as a positive,” Metta World Peace told reporters of the team's reaction to the development.
“Tough days,” is how Bryant begins a Facebook post he just dropped. “. . . I had a good relationship with Mike.”
The captain concludes his team “can only focus on the here and now.”
Friends reportedly said Brown was surprised by the firing, but he issued a statement thanking the Lakers for the opportunity and wishing the team success in the future.
Thanks to fucking Time Warner Cable, which has denied this satellite TV subscriber a look at this year's Lakers (so far), I will have never seen a Brown-coached Lakers team with Steve Nash bringing up the ball. Nash was on the bench during the lone televised game this Lakers fanatic caught, versus the Clippers, whose games are not blacked out by cable Nazis.
Not that I've missed anything great. The Lakers went 0-8 during the preseason, began the regular season 0-3 and at 1-4 have the worst record in the Western Conference.
Part of the reason the Lakers hired Brown 18 months ago was because he took the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals with just one superstar, LeBron James. He had four to begin this season with the Lakers. But though Brown has a reputation for strong defensive play, an admittedly banged-up Lakers team has not displayed that. And despite so many offensive weapons, the side of the game has never seemed in sync, as Kupchak noted today.
UPDATE, NOV. 12, 8:58 A.M.: Because Phil Jackson reportedly wanted too much–including a piece of the team–the Lakers bypassed the legendary coach and instead hired first runner-up Mike D'Antoni, who took the Phoenix Suns to the western finals twice with a fast-paced–dare I saw Showtime-esque?–offense.
Meanwhile, TMZ has a photo of Mike Brown reportedly snapped at the Chick-fil-A restaurant near my Costa Mesa home a couple hours after his firing was announced. He apparently took a break from discussing his dismissal over the phone with KCBS sports news veteran Jim Hill to pose with another chicken sandwich customer.
Brown looks happy in the photo, but you would imagine his smile was upside down after Thursday's Lakers practice–not because he knew the front office hammer was about to come down but because an Orange County Register reported informed him his son Elijah Brown received angry and threatening tweets about the Lakers' poor start under his dad. “That's the tough part about this business,” MIke Brown reportedly reacted. “To go after somebody's
family or something like that is, in my opinion, just ridiculous. It's
stupid, crazy, whatever you want to call it. They (family members) have
nothing to do with what's going on right now.”
Some Lakers players and their wives posted comments defending the Brown family and telling the knuckleheads to knock it off, but Elijah Brown, a Mater Dei High basketball player, seemed to take it all in stride, posting on Twitter: “Coaches fault when they lose but players glory when they win.. I'm not trippin well be straight!”
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Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.