You get into a bit of a slippery slope when you allow players in any league to start making personnel and coaching decisions.
But there is nothing wrong with keeping your star players informed with major moves that may be made. The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t do that at all with star guard Kobe Bryant last week when they hired Mike Brown to replace Phil Jackson.
It was good to see Lakers VP for player personnel Jim Buss get that that was wrong and admit as much in an interview with the Los Angeles Times over the weekend. Buss, the son of owner Jerry Buss, doesn’t regret the hiring of Brown but understands Bryant should have been kept in the loop.
"Looking back on it, we should have contacted Kobe," Jim Buss said. "Kobe said it was management's job to pick a coach. He just said, 'defense first.' That's what we were doing, but we should have reached out to him."
Apparently Bryant and Brown have connected on their own via text messages and seem to already be building a bond. But this could have gone another direction that might not have been good for the franchise next season. Bryant had been hopeful longtime Jackson assistant Brian Shaw would be the next coach for continuity sake. The Lakers obviously were ready to go in a different direction.
The last thing Brown or any coach needs is for Bryant, the current face of the organization, not to be on board. Remember it took years and even a brief retirement for Bryant to fully accept Jackson. The result was a dysfunctional team.
"I've seen Kobe go off the place a few times, but I'm sure the coach will know how to handle it," Buss told the newspaper. "My dad loves Kobe and so do I; we think he has a lot left. And I know Mike has some ideas on how to elongate Kobe's career."
By all accounts Brown and Bryant should be able to reach a level of mutual respect with the understanding they won’t always agree. That was maybe the problem when Brown was over LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers. James expected there to be no differences and when there were suddenly Brown had to go.
You would like to think this situation will be different because Brown and Bryant have been battle tested and both are tireless workers.
(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)
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