It’s been an interesting last few days for Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown, to say the least. After benching two of his star players in consecutive games, Brown tells SI that he has total control of the team and locker room: “Brown — who signed a four-year, $18.25 million deal to replace Phil Jackson and has the Lakers in third place in the Western Conference despite the endless fits and starts — discussed the relevant dynamics of his position and made it clear that he’s acting with confidence. ‘I have to make tough decisions all the time,’ he said. ‘That’s what the head coach does. I listen to a lot of people, but at the end of the day, every decision that is made is my decision. Yes, at times, I may say, ‘Dang, I wish I would’ve done that.’ But I’m also a guy who understands that that was in the past, and I can’t sit and dwell on it. It’s easy to be that Monday morning quarterback and say, ‘Dang, I should’ve done this or that.’ […] But Brown, who was never known as the hard-line sort during his days with LeBron James in Cleveland and may be trying to change that perception now, insisted that he has autonomy. ‘Nobody has told me to do anything with [players], just like, for the most part, I haven’t said, ‘Hey trade this guy or trade that guy,’ Brown said. ‘That’s not my area. Mitch [Kupchak] has made it clear, too — that I’m the coach and I’ve got to coach this team to win. No pressure is coming from Jimmy [Buss]. … I’m coaching this team how I see fit, and nobody is putting pressure on me to do this or do that. I’m making all the decisions. And at the end of the day, if the decisions don’t work — when it comes to coaching the team on the floor — it’s because they were all my decisions. If that happens, I’ll be able to sleep at night no matter what happens. That’s how I look at it.’
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