Even when they’re gone, the Los Angeles Lakers find a way to keep their name in the news. A major storyline heading into the offseason revolved around the team and who would be chosen to succeed Phil Jackson. As luck would have it, Laker Nation has to wait no longer. The Mike Brown era in Los Angeles has officially begun.
Brown, an ESPN analyst and the 2008-09 NBA coach of the year, emerged as the leading candidate for the vacancy created when Phil Jackson retired after a strong face-to-face interview with Lakers brass including executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss, ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher reported.
A source told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher that the two sides are expected to agree on contract numbers which will fall somewhere between potential deals that have been reported. A source told ESPNLosAngeles.com that a four-year, $18 million deal is “in the ballpark” of what Brown was considering. A source told Bucher, though, that Brown desires a four-year deal in the $16 million range, while the Lakers would like him to agree to three years with a partially guaranteed fourth year that would be worth closer to $12 million. [ESPN]
For all the jokes and backhanded compliments that can be easily thrown Brown’s way, none of it really matters. During my years as a Cleveland Cavalier frontrunner, Brown’s tenure was tattered by immaculate regular seasons which led to the highest playoff expectations anyone outside of L.A. or Boston could fathom. I don’t think there is anyone in the world who is willing to question his defensive capabilities. The Cavs were perennial defensive juggernauts thanks in light to equal parts LeBron’s range and Brown’s craftiness. So in that aspect, the hire may actually serve as a positive Jack’s team.
Kobe fully endorsing long-time assistant Brian Shaw is the best storyline. The guy travels around the league overcoming one hell of an emotional story as a player only to end it with titles in L.A. and later winning a handful as an assistant in waiting. He even turns down the Cleveland job as fate would have it to remain the heir to the Lakers’ throne. Like TNT, however, the NBA knows drama and this defines it. The former MVP made it known a clear-cut defensive identity moving forward was imperative. Brown brings that.