After a couple of weeks of speculation, the Los Angeles Lakers appear to have pulled out a surprise candidate to succeed Phil Jackson as the head coach: Mike Brown.
Reports surfaced late Tuesday that the former Cleveland Cavaliers coach was now the favorite to get the job. That changed Wednesday and now Brown has been officially offered the Lakers job and a four-year $18 million contract, according to several reports.
This is stunning considering that Brown wasn’t even on the Lakers' radar a couple of weeks ago. The early favorites seemed to be current Lakers assistant Brian Shaw and recently departed Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman.
But it appears that Brown has won over the organization, namely owner Jerry Buss, during his interview late last week.
Now comes the interesting part, as Brown, 41, inherits another superstar who won’t be easy to coach: Kobe Bryant. Brown didn’t always deal with LeBron James the best, often allowing James to walk all over him.
The Lakers situation could be even more problematic considering that Bryant can be a lot more outspoken and less politically correct than James was in public. Bryant was believed to favor Shaw to keep the continuity the same.
So Brown will have to contend with that, plus there are a few head cases to contend with in role positions, such as Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
The positive here is that Brown, while certainly not the Zen Master Jackson was, does seem to have a way of building trust and motivating players. So maybe this will be a good fit that we just didn’t see coming.
(Photo: AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)