The 2012-2013 NBA season is not even two weeks old, and the Los Angeles Lakers are already looking for a new coach.
Head coach Mike Brown has been fired after a 1-4 start. Earlier in the day, Marc Stein had reported that Brown might be terminated if the team had an unsuccessful six-game homestand. Now, it appears the organization won’t give Brown the six games to straighten things out.
With Brown let go of his duties, the Lakers will have to find a viable replacement. There are still a lot of games to be played, and they’ll be looking to win a championship this season. It won’t be easy, but Los Angeles will try to find a coach that can lead their team of All-Stars to the NBA Finals.
Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff has been supposedly named the interim head coach, but the Lakers could be looking for someone with more experience to lead them over the final 77 games. Bickerstaff was last a head coach with the Charlotte Bobcats from 2004-2007.
The Lakers have several possible candidates outside of Bickerstaff.
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Phil Jackson remains the obvious prospect, but it might be a long shot considering his age and health. Jackson had recently spoke out about the New York Knicks, and how the club appeared to be confused with their player personnel, which is a clear indication that the legendary coach continues to follow the NBA.
Jackson might see the Lakers in a similar light as the Knicks. With Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol on the roster, L.A. might have the most talent starting lineup in basketball. However, their record may show that they have been poorly put together.
In his 11 seasons with Los Angeles, Jackson won five titles. He was replaced by Brown, following his retirement in 2011. ESPN's Chris Broussard confirmed that Jackson had been in contact with the club.
Broussard also discussed the possibility of Jerry Sloan, Nate McMillan, and Indiana Pacers' assistant Brian Shaw getting the job. Sloan might be the most likely candidate to be hired during the season.
He is considered by many to be a great coach, winning 1,221 career games. He’s never won a championship, but led the Utah Jazz to two NBA Finals, only to be defeated by Michael Jordan and h=the Chicago Bulls. He has experience coaching multiple Hall of Famers, and might be able to help turn the Lakers around.
A reasonable pair of coaches to fill in for the rest of the season could be former assistants Jim Cleamons and Frank Hamblem. The Lakers would basically be abandoning the Princeton offense with that possible decision, and return to the triangle offense.
Lakers executive Jim Buss is in an odd situation with the firing of Brown. He was an outspoken proponent of Brown, as well as Andrew Bynum, who was traded in the offseason for Howard. The decision to fire Brown comes off as premature, considering it was only after five games, and with veteran point guard Steve Nash unavailable for most of those games due to injury.
Nash might be in favor of the Lakers hiring Mike D'Antoni. The former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks head coach was also Bryant's favorite player when he grew up in Italy, and even wore D'Antoni's No. 8 for most of his career with the Lakers.
D’Antoni has had a lot of success in the regular season. He won at least 54 games in his last four seasons with the Suns, but was unable to make it past the Western Conference Finals.
The former Knicks and Suns head man is known as one of the greatest offensive minds in the NBA, but has been criticized for his attitude towards defense. The Lakers brass may not want to bring in D’Antoni, with the team already allowing 98.8 points per game.
Brown has been fired just a little over one year into a four-year contract. He had a .592 winning percent as Los Angeles’ head coach.