by Eldon Khorshidi

It’s kind of bizarre how things have played out in LA. The two-time defending champs and Western Conference favorites got swept in the second round, leading to Phil Jackson’s ‘final’ departure. In Jackson’s shadow was Brian Shaw, who had the support of both the locker room and the general public, and who many expected to take over at the helm. But a surprising final verdict has emerged: the Lakers have hired Mike Brown, formerly of the Cleveland Cavaliers. According to ESPN Los Angeles, the deal is done:

“Mike Brown is the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Brown and the Lakers agreed in principle Wednesday to a four-year, $18.25 million deal, according to league sources. The Lakers will announce Brown as the 22nd coach in franchise history Wednesday afternoon. Brown, who is currently in Cleveland, will sign the contract later this week. The development is a victorious comeback for Brown, who was fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers almost a year ago to the day. Now, the 41-year-old Brown, the winningest coach in Cavaliers history, is leading one of the most prestigious and successful franchise in modern basketball history. The contract is a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth year. If the Lakers don’t pick up the option, Brown is guaranteed to receive $2.5 million. Brown’s union with the Lakers came together quickly. An ESPN analyst and the 2008-09 NBA coach of the year, he emerged as the leading candidate for the vacancy created when Phil Jackson retired after a strong face-to-face interview Saturday with Lakers brass including executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss, ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher reported.”