That didn’t take long.
The Los Angeles Lakers fired coach Mike Brown on Friday, just five games into the season. USA Today and ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne first reported the news, citing Brown’s agent Warren Legarie and team source, respectively.
The Lakers fell to 1-4 with a 95-86 loss at Utah on Wednesday and their big-name offseason acquisitions have struggled to form a cohesive unit.
Veteran point guard Steve Nash has played only two games because of a leg injury and while all-star center Dwight Howard is second on the team with 22.4 points per game, the Los Angeles defense is struggling mightily in the early going.
Last week Kobe Bryant tried to temper early expectations a bit, saying, “It’s growing pains, and it’s a struggle. We’re out of sync, and we’re going to probably have some more moments in games like that.”
Bryant also suggested that those already calling for Brown’s ouster should keep their mouths shut.
“I’ve won so I can [tell people to shut up],” Bryant said (via ESPNLosAngeles.com). “For Mike it might be a little tough to say that so I’ll say it for him: ‘Everybody shut up. Let us work. At the end of the day, you’ll be happy with the result as you normally are.’”
After Wednesday’s loss, Bryant sarcastically acknowledged that he was “just a little bit” frustrated.
Brown’s firing comes just two days after Jim Buss, the Lakers executive vice-president, backed his coach and stressed the need for patience as the team integrates its new stars into the Princeton-style offense Brown is running with the aid of assistant Eddie Jordan.
“I have no problems with Mike Brown at all,” Buss said (via ESPN Los Angeles). “He just works too hard and he’s too knowledgeable for this to be happening. So either the system is flawed or something’s going on. Or, like the Triangle, it’s very hard to pick up and understand. I’m not a basketball mind like he is or the players are, and the players are fine with it, so I just have to be patient.”
So much for that.