Mike Brown was fired after the Lakers started the season 1-4.
Questions abound after Lakers drop Brown
By Dan Arritt, for NBA.com
Posted Nov 9, 2012 9:12 PM - Updated Nov 9, 2012 10:32 PM
LOS ANGELES -- As the shudder that awoke Los Angeles on Friday morning softened to tremor by nightfall, the realization that Mike Brown had been fired as coach of the Lakers was replaced by a question mark as large as the nearby Hollywood sign.
What's next for one of the most visible franchises in sports?
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Leading up to the Lakers game Friday night against the Warriors at Staples Center, reports continued to grow and multiply that former Lakers coach Phil Jackson is high on the list of replacements for Brown, who lasted just 83 games before he was fired after a 1-4 start to his second season.
Ex-Lakers demanded the organization reach out to Jackson, fans hoped for it and even Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said that was a possibility during an afternoon news conference at the team's practice facility in El Segundo.
"When there's a coach like Phil Jackson, one of the all-time greats, and he's not coaching, I think we'd be negligent not to be aware that he's out there," Kupchak said. "We're putting together a list and an attack plan. We haven't reached out to anyone at this time."
Jackson, who led the Lakers to five NBA titles in two stints over 11 seasons, landed a powerful endorsement soon after Brown was let go. Magic Johnson, still the face of the franchise nearly 20 years after he retired from the NBA, said on ESPN Radio that the Lakers must look into their past.
"Now, they must turn to Phil Jackson," he said.
Johnson added that he wasn't convinced Jackson wanted to return to coaching. Jackson, who recently turned 67, stepped down as Lakers coach following the 2010-11 season -- his second run with the Lakers.
ESPN Los Angeles, however, cited numerous sources that claimed Jackson was interested. Jackson is certainly still entwined with the franchise. He's the longtime boyfriend of Jeanie Buss, the daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss and a top executive with the team.
Other names expected to be on the list of potential hires include former Suns and Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, who resigned as coach of the Knicks last March. D'Antoni coached Lakers point guard Steve Nash when both were in Phoenix, but his high-tempo style might not fit with the aging Lakers roster.
Nate McMillan, who coached in Seattle and Portland for 12 years before he was fired by the Trail Blazers last March, is also considered to be on the short list of candidates.
As the players wandered out of the morning shoot-around, they were in no mood to reflect on potential replacements for Brown. They know that any changes would be fruitless unless the players changed their demeanor.
Pau Gasol called the firing a "direct message" that the players needed to play to their potential.
"There's no messing around," he said. 'It's time for all of us to step up."