Laker Nation is still wrapping its collective head around the idea of Mike Brown as the new man in charge. And apparently, so is Kobe Bryant.
The “Black Mamba” hasn’t made any public statements regarding the matter, but according to published reports, he did not see this coming.
There are concerns about the fact that Bryant wasn’t consulted at all before Brown was hired — Kobe’s preferred choice was current assistant coach Brian Shaw — and though Mike Brown claimed last night that he and the Laker superstar exchanged text messages, Bryant’s silence is telling.
From the LA Times:
Apparently the Buss family followed through on its declaration not to “consult the players on these matters,” as Jerry Buss said in a Tuesday radio interview about the hiring of a new coach. The Lakers and former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown agreed to a deal Wednesday. People familiar with Kobe Bryant’s thinking said that the All-Star guard was confused by the decision. When reached Wednesday by The Times about the Brown hire, Bryant had no comment. Bryant said earlier this month that he would be comfortable with Assistant Coach Brian Shaw getting the job because of Shaw’s overall knowledge of the franchise, the triangle offense and, of course, the players.
“I’m here to continue to try to help this organization carve a championship path that’s already been laid,” Brown said Wednesday on ESPN during halftime of the Dallas Mavericks-Oklahoma City Thunder game. “I know I’m not going to fill [Jackson's] shoes…But I am excited to help carve my own path with this team going forward,” Brown said.
Mike Brown reportedly impressed Jim Buss, the Lakers’ owner’s son who increasingly makes the important decisions for the franchise, by selling him on his ability to coach defense and deal with superstars (see: James, LeBron).
The Mike Brown/Kobe Bryant relationship will be the biggest factor in making this new direction for the Lakers a success. Sooner or later, Kobe will have no choice but to extend an olive branch, and try to make it work.