By Jovani Gama and Chelsea Underwood |Sports Editor, Asst. Sports Editor|
The verdict is win; Mike Brown is no longer the Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach, and it appears as if a new era of Lakers’s basketball is about to begin.
The Lakers made headlines last year after they announced that the great Phil Jackson’s predecessor would be the former Cleveland Cavaliers’ Coach of the Year Mike Brown.
Jackson, who retired after the 2010-2011 campaign with a mind boggling 11 championships to his credit, left behind shoes as big as the city for which he coached to fill.
While initially up to the challenge, Mike Brown seemed to lack the “it” factor that it takes to survive in Hollywood.
After his Lakers suffered an uncharacteristic second round exit at the hands of Oklahoma City Thunder in last year’s playoffs, the citizens of Los Angeles turned their backs on Brown and called for his head!
Okay, maybe not for his head, but the chants for Brown’s removal resonated throughout the Staples Center as well as the entire city.
While Lakers management expressed their desire to give Brown ample opportunity, a loss on the road to the Utah Jazz along with an intense Kobe Bryant death stare seemed to be all the organization needed to let him go.
Mitch Kupchak, Lakers General Manager, explained his decision to fire Brown during his interview on Friday, Nov. 9.
“Mike’s a good man. Very hard working; maybe one of the hardest working coaches that I’ve ever been around,” said Kupchak. “The bottom line is that the team was not winning at the pace that we expected this team to win and we didn’t see improvement.”
Kupchak continued to elude to the fact that the team that he was in charge of constructing was not performing up to par, and what’s worse, was showing little signs of improvement.
The Lakers, who have started the season with a dismal 1–4 record, continued to preach patience, but with lack of progress and players who at times looked uninterested in their craft, Kupchak’s patience finally ran out.
For now, assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will be given the right to fill in the empty coaching position until someone else is hired.
The question is, now that Brown is out, who will the Lakers bring in?
Seconds after it was revealed that Brown was fired, rumors and speculations began swirling across the internet.
With names like Mike D’Antoni, Stan Van Gundy, and even Phil Jackson being tossed around, it is difficult to gauge who will take over the position, as each coach is great in his own right.
The most interesting name taking over headlines, however, is Jerry Sloan.
The Hall-of-Fame coach has been retired for over a year, but was recently linked to vacant coaching positions, indicating that the 70 year old still has the desire and ability to coach.
The no-nonsense coach seems like an ideal fit for the star studded Lakers, as discipline on the offensive end and especially on the defensive end have clearly been lacking.
In addition, Sloan’s “flex offense” seems ideal for the Lakers’ starting five, as Steve Nash’s effectiveness finding cutters and slashers will surely resemble that of hall-of-famer John Stockton’s, who Sloan also coached.
While Sloan refused to comment on the possibility of coaching the Lakers, it is clear that the prospect of winning an NBA championship is enticing to Sloan who, despite all of his accolades and prestige, has yet to have the opportunity to hoist up the Larry O’Brien trophy.
The Lakers seem to be the best bet to make this happen for Sloan.