Mike Brown had conversations with the Golden State Warriors and was basically heading there as soon as his interview with the Los Angeles Lakers was complete. The Lakers had other ideas. Before Brown could get back on the plane, they worked out a contract and hired him as their next head coach.
Now, most of the talk about that has centered around the fact that the team didn’t consult with superstar Kobe Bryant before making the hire. Brown says the two have met and that things went well.
He takes over for Phil Jackson, who stepped down after the Lakers lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs. Lakers brass have come out and said they expect the same rotation they used this year when they lace things up — if there is a season — next year. Either way, Brown says the team is very capable of exceeding their early exit this year.
Mike Brown joined KLAC in Los Angeles with Petros and Money to discuss whether he was eyeing the Lakers gig throughout the season, the conversations he had with other teams about coaching, Jim Buss’ comments that he expects the Lakers to use the same rotation next year, how he keeps that group from suffering the same fate it did this year and his communications with Kobe Bryant.
How often did the Lakers job cross his mind throughout this season?:
“You know, it crossed my mind every once in a while. Anytime you have a storied program like this organization and you know for sure the head coach is going to step down, that is a thought that, if you’re a competitor and you still want to coach, will cross your mind.”
Did he get into deep conversations with other teams about head-coaching opportunities?:
“There were quite a few teams that had wanted to talk to me. I was interested in talking to two teams, initially, and those two teams were the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets. … I was down the road a little ways with Golden State when the Lakers came in and approached me about coming out for an interview. … They moved rather quickly to get an agreement between myself and them before I hopped on the plane [to Golden State].”
On Jim Buss’ comments that he expects the same rotation of players for the Lakers next year:
“I’m not sure what they did here throughout the course of the year, but obviously anybody can improve in anything that they do … if they put their mind to it and work hard. There are things that we can do better on both sides of the basketball to help us become a better team and I know for sure that we’ll definitely work on it.”
How do you keep the same group of players from suffering the same fate as they did this year?:
“There were some technical things that you can sit back and say, ‘They could do better here or do better there.’ … But there also were things, probably, that went on that I’m not privy of … in the locker room. You don’t ever know how the mood of a team was during that series, if anything off the court brought them down or if it was just Xs and Os. … I do believe we can definitely get past that point come next year.”
On his communication with Kobe Bryant since taking the job:
“We had a great talk. … If you ever get a call from me, the words ‘Private Number’ will show up. Most people, I know I don’t, I don’t answer my phone if ‘Private Number’ shows up on my phone. So the best route with technology where it is, for me, was to go ahead and text him, let him know, ‘This is me, trying to get in touch with you. When I call you, my number will show up private. Here are all my numbers. You can get in touch with me anytime.’ That was the start of it.”