After a disappointing 1-4 start to the season, Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown has been fired.
In a statement, he thanked the organization for allowing him the opportunity to coach the storied franchise.
“I have great respect for the Buss family and the Lakers’ storied tradition and I thank them for the opportunity they afforded me,” Brown said. “I have a deep appreciation for the coaches and players that I worked with this past year and I wish the organization nothing but success as they move forward.”
The team started the season with high championship expectations, after trading for center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash, who have been playing alongside superstars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Unfortunately the powerhouse line-up went 0-8 during the preseason for the first time in franchise history, before moving into the regular season with an 0-3 start.
Brown took over the coaching position for the Lakers for the 2011-2012 season, ultimately achieving a 41-25 record during the regular season. The team would go on to win the Pacific Division and advance to the Western Conference before being pushed out by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Implementing a new offensive scheme this fall, that did not seem to suit the players on the team, coupled with the team’s spotty defense, Lakers management came to a unanimous decision that the team wasn’t heading in the right direction and decided to let Brown go.
The release of Brown from his contract does come with a substantial cost to the franchise, as he was in the second year of a four-year, $18 million contract. The final year of that contract was only partially guaranteed in the form of a team option in the last year.
At press time, it was unclear who the Lakers will pursue as a successor. Likely candidates could include former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks Mike D’Antoni, former Utah coach Jerry Sloan, or perhaps even the retired Phil Jackson.
Current Lakers assistant Bernie Bickerstaff is expected to take the reins on an interim basis when the Lakers host the Golden State Warriors this week.