Magic Johnson rips Mike Brown

The Los Angeles Lakers surprised some people by firing former head coach Mike Brown on Friday, but only because they chose to do it six games into the season. Most of us thought he would survive a bit longer, but very few believed he would last the entire year. If you ask Magic Johnson, Brown should have never been there in the first place.

During an interview with USA TODAY Sports on Sunday, Magic said Brown’s days in Cleveland should have shown the Lakers he was not a good fit.

“That’s the reason why Mike is out, because the Lakers are about winning championships,” Johnson said. “They’re not about waiting. Some people have complained, and said different things – no, he didn’t get a fair shake. The Lakers don’t give people fair shakes. It’s not about fair shakes. It’s about whether you can produce or not. Other organizations, they have time and patience because they’re not about winning the championships.

“We have to go back to history with Mike. Mike didn’t get it done in Cleveland. If he can’t get the championship done in Cleveland, having the game’s best player (LeBron James), how are you going to come to Los Angeles and win it? It’s just too bad.”

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Lakers fire Mike Brown

The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly fired Mike Brown in the wake of the team’s most recent loss, which dropped their record to 1-4 on the season. According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, it was initially believed that the Lakers would use their upcoming six-game homestand to evaluate Brown and make a decision. Plans have apparently changed, and L.A.’s front office reportedly came to a “unanimous decision” to let Brown go.

While there was reason to be skeptical that Brown would make it through the remainder of the season, it’s somewhat surprising to see him fired after only five games. The Lakers need to win now given the ages of some of their stars, but they have ample time to turn things around over the course of an 82-game season. Clearly the team does not feel that Brown is the man who can change the Lakers’ fate.

During Wednesday night’s loss to the Jazz, Kobe Bryant shot Brown one of the coldest stares you will ever see as the game was coming to a close. Bryant has obviously been unhappy with Brown, and when Kobe is unhappy with something the Lakers have a tendency to act on it. It would be incredibly naive to think Kobe had no part in the team’s decision to fire Brown.

Kobe Bryant gives Mike Brown the stare of death (Video)

Kobe Bryant may have summed up the Lakers’ season under coach Mike Brown with the death stare he gave in the final minute of Wednesday night’s game. Look at that classic death stare he gave Brown. I mean if looks could kill, Brown would be in a coffin. Bryant could freeze a desert with a glare that icy.

That look came as the Lakers lost to the Utah Jazz 95-86 to drop to 1-4 on the season. Steve Nash hasn’t played since injuring his leg last week, but the Lakers have no excuse for being this bad. You remember before the season when Metta World Peace said the Lakers could top the Bulls’ regular-season record of 72-10? They would have to go 72-5 to make that happen. Good luck with that.

H/T @cjzero

Firing Mike Brown in 2009 reportedly could have helped Cavs keep LeBron James

Throughout his time in Cleveland, there were always rumors that LeBron James did not get along well with then-head coach Mike Brown. That seems to be the case anytime a team has several chances to win a championship and comes up short. If you ask Shaq, he’ll tell you LeBron never wanted to listen to Brown while he was playing under him. With that in mind, you have to wonder if Cleveland would have had a better chance of retaining LeBron if they got rid of Brown sooner.

During a recent interview with Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports, former Cleveland Plain Dealer and current ESPN.com writer Brian Windhorst said he believes King James would have considered staying if Brown was fired a season earlier. Windhorst said LeBron really wanted him gone following the 2008-2009 season.

“That was the year that Mike Brown won coach of the year,” Windhorst said according to Waiting for Next Year. “And LeBron was pretty much done with him then.” Windhorst went further still. “Someone really close to LeBron once told me, ‘Ya know if they’d fired Mike Brown one year early, he might still be in Cleveland.’”

I’m not buying it. The Cavs won 66 games during the 2008-2009 season and Brown was named Coach of the Year. LeBron may have wanted him gone, but Cleveland’s hands were tied with those results. After the Cavs lost to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semis in 2010, Brown was fired. That was more than a month before “The Decision,” so obviously LeBron knew he could essentially chose his head coach if he remained in Cleveland. If he was holding a grudge because the Cavs didn’t do what he wanted when he wanted it done, LeBron is more immature than I thought he was.

Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Mike Brown apologized to Kobe Bryant for questioning his shot selection

When the Lakers hired Mike Brown and didn’t consult Kobe Bryant before doing so, they introduced an entirely new dynamic to the team. There have been times where Brown has shown he’s not afraid to challenge Kobe, but others where it becomes obvious that the Lakers are Bryant’s team now that Phil Jackson is gone. For example, Kobe shot a combined 17-of-57 from the field during back-to-back Laker losses last week. His shot selection was particularly poor, and Brown called him out on it after Wednesday’s loss to Washington. The problem is he later apologized for it, according to the L.A. Times.

The Lakers are trying just about everything to win, which they did Friday, 105-102, at Target Center, as Kobe Bryant scored 34 points a day after a team video session turned into a say-what-you-want meeting between coaches and players, The Times has learned.

Coach Mike Brown apologized to Bryant for publicly questioning his shot selection after the Lakers’ stunning 106-101 loss Wednesday in Washington. Brown also apologized to Matt Barnes and Metta World Peace for insinuating the same thing about their shot selection in that game.

Brown then invited the players to speak their minds, which was when Kobe expressed that he felt the long meetings were unnecessary and that the team should do its talking on the court.

Brown hasn’t done a great job of coaching — particularly with the offense — but the fact that he feels the need to apologize for calling a player out about something completely fair is alarming. Whether it be Kobe or Metta World Peace, it seems like the Lakers’ new coach has to walk on eggshells in his own locker room. Maybe the big win over the rival Celtics on Sunday will improve the situation.

Mike Brown to Metta World Peace: If I was a stats guy you wouldn’t be playing at all

For guys like Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace who were accustomed to playing for Phil Jackson, a transition period was inevitable when Mike Brown took over the Lakers. No two coaches have an identical style, so any coaching change is bound to take some getting used to. The Lakers have struggled a bit lately, and World Peace seems to think that has a lot to do with Brown’s substitution patterns. Earlier in the week he said Brown focuses too much on statistics and that it was hurting the team. Brown fired back on Tuesday.

“I said, ‘If I was a stats guy, Metta, you wouldn’t be playing at all,” Brown said according to the L.A. Times. “Look at your stats offensively. And then Synergy (Sports Technology) says you’re the 192nd-best defensive player in the league,'” Brown said. “If I was a stats guy, the guy that should be playing at the small-forward spot is Devin Ebanks because he’s shooting better than you and Matt.”

Touche. World Peace was right earlier in the week when he said you can’t measure how many times a team gets away from their best player because he’s covering them. Brown, however, is right about World Peace’s stats being horrible so far this season. He is averaging only 4.9 points and 2.6 rebounds despite playing more than 22 minutes a game. Brown said any inconsistency in his substitution patterns is a result of learning a new system.

“I don’t think it’s any different if you look at a lot of other teams,” he said. “I think a lot of guys, especially teams with new coaches that are putting new systems in, they’ve got to get a feel for what their team can do and what their players can do. God bless anybody that can walk into any situation and after two games figure out what rotation he wants to have and keep it that way for the rest of the year.”

Both Brown and World Peace have some valid points, but the best thing they could do for the team is hash out all the details behind closed doors. Sharing everything with the media can only create headaches.

Metta World Peace questions Mike Brown’s coaching decisions

Metta World Peace is quite the loquacious one lately. A day after delivering some hilarious comments about Jeremy Lin, World Peace came out with some strong words for Lakers coach Mike Brown. Metta is particularly upset about being benched late in games when he feels he shouldn’t be.

“I’m trying to win,” World Peace told CBS Sports’ Ken Berger. “And right now, coach is a stats guy. His background is video coordinator or whatever. So he’s all stats. But Ron Artest is all feel. He doesn’t understand that. Having me in the game at the end, he was worried about me shooting bad from the free throw line. And I was like, ‘I could care less because I’m gonna get a stop at the end of the game.’ He didn’t understand the rhythm that we had — me, Fish [Derek Fisher], Kobe [Bryant], Pau [Gasol] and Drew [Andrew Bynum]. I’ve been through games where I would have two points, go 1 for 9 and we’d win. That’s what matters. Stats are for people who need stats.”

Metta, or Ron Artest as he called himself, says the team won in Boston with him on the floor but lost to Utah and and Philly when he was on the bench late. He thinks that should overshadow his atrocious shooting on the season (he’s making just 16% of his threes), explaining that what he does well doesn’t show up in the box score.

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