Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area reports that the Lakers will hire Mike Brown as their new head coach following the retirement of Phil Jackson. Steinmetz reports two sources confirming a four-year, $18 million deal for Brown. Previous reports had Brown close to a deal following owner Jerry Buss telling reporters that the Lakers were “very close” to a new head coach.
Brown brings plusses and minuses, as he is a stellar defensive coach respected by veterans like those the Lakers have. Conversely, Brown is also a questionable offensive coach, relying on offensive assistants for help in that area. He is known as a key motivator, which the Lakers could clearly use after a lackadaisical season. But there are questions about his ability to wrangle stars after the way LeBron James dominated the situation in Cleveland. Now he faces an even more ego-heavy locker room.
There was talk the next Lakers coach would have to take a payc ut, and should the report be accurate, this is a considerable cut from what Jackson made last season, and even more so from the extension Jackson signed before the 2009 season.
There will be questions as to why Rick Adelman was not given the job, but Brown is a capable coach who fits in well with the veteran Lakers squad. It’s a move for both stability and change, just what Buss was looking for.
Brown, 41, coached the Cavaliers from 2005-2006 to 2000-2010, winning 50+ games in four of those five seasons. He took the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2006-2007. He was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 2009 but parted ways with the team in the early summer of 2010, shortly before All-Star forward LeBron James left the franchise to play for the Miami Heat. Prior to his time in Cleveland, Brown was an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs.
His name first surfaced with regard to the Lakers position last week.