According to a statement issued by the Los Angeles Lakers, they have reached an agreement with ex-Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown to fill the void left by the departure of Phil Jackson. The deal, reportedly, is slated to earn Brown approximately $18 million over four years with the last year being an option.
As speculation ran rampant that Rick Adelman, Mike Dunleavy or Brian Shaw were the heavy favorites to win the L.A. head coaching job, Brown flew in under the radar and stole the position with a strong interview, sources indicate. That coupled with the team’s emphasis on finding a coach on the cheap as part of their new cost-cutting initiative sealed the deal for the former Coach of the Year.
"We've met with Mike and are very impressed with him," said a statement issued by the Lakers. "In addition, we have an outline for an agreement in place and hope to sign a contract within the next few days."
Many are noting that Brown’s hire marks the end of an era for the Lakers. An official shift, essentially, from the triangle-based playbook of Jackson to the defensive-oriented strategizing of Brown. That desired transition appears to be the primary reason that Brown was selected over the likes of Adelman, Dunleavy and Shaw.
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The most interesting part of the Brown hire remains how the dynamic between him and Kobe Bryant will work. Already, the Lakers superstar has refused to comment on the new coaching hire when contacted by the Los Angeles Times – hardly a ringing endorsement.
LeBron James, who played his whole career under Brown up until his coach’s eventual firing -- which he’s rumored to have had a hand in -- was much more supportive:
"I think it's great," James said in Miami, where he's preparing for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
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"Mike Brown is a great coach," James said. "He brought us success that we hadn't had before in that city, and it started with his defensive concepts. He brought in a defensive mindset that we didn't have. Fifty-plus wins, he was coach of the year, he got us to the (NBA) finals, won us the Eastern Conference finals ... because of him and his coaching staff. I respect him. He definitely helped me become who I am today."
Brown is expected to sign a deal with the team and be announced publicly in the coming days.