The Lakers are currently battling against the Denver Nuggets in Los Angeles for Game 7 of their first-round series.
What's the best way to prepare for a Game 7? That depends on who you ask, but it's certainly not by having a VP of your team telling the media that your team's coach will be fired if you fail to advance to the next round.
Of course, this is exactly what happened in Lakerland on Friday night. ESPN LA's Dave McMenamin reports:
As if there wasn't enough pressure already on Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown heading into Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, now a prominent Lakers legend says Brown will be coaching to keep his job.
Former Laker Magic Johnson, working as an ESPN/ABC NBA analyst on Friday during the Los Angeles Clippers game against the Memphis Grizzlies, said that if the Nuggets beat the Lakers in Game 7 Brown's tenure in L.A. will be cut short.
"Mike Brown will not be coaching the Lakers if they lose this game," Johnson said. "There would be so much pressure on (Lakers executive vice president of player personnel) Jim Buss and the Laker organization to get rid of him."
That's great, isn't it? One of the greatest players to ever represent your franchise, who still currently holds the title of vice president with the team, goes on national television to say that your coach is done if you lose.
Talk about conflict of interest.
McMenamin also reports that the Lakers have denied that Brown's job security is at risk:
The Lakers released a statement Saturday afternoon in support of Brown.
"The opinion expressed yesterday by Magic Johnson regarding Mike Brown was his personal opinion and was made in his role as a TV analyst," the statement said. "His words were not made on behalf of the Los Angeles Lakers, and in no way do they reflect the feelings or position of team ownership or management. We are fully committed to and supportive of Mike Brown as head coach of the Lakers.
This is what the Lakers have to do. They had to act immediately to diffuse this situation, and they did, but it's a situation that shouldn't have ever happened. If you want to work as a television analyst who can speak freely and honestly, you probably shouldn't have a direct tie with a franchise you're going to be analyzing.
What a distraction for the Lakers. While Brown has said he's not worried about Johnson's comments, it has to be in the back of his mind. Before the biggest game of the season, to have your job called into question by someone on the inside (at least in title), isn't what's supposed to happen. It's the exact opposite of what's supposed to happen, and it's not a good look for the organization.
Of course, Johnson was acting as analyst and not VP, but you can't have both. Sometimes, you have to pick a side. This is one of those times.
We'll see how the Lakers do tonight, but ultimately, this is a story that shouldn't have ever happened. Somehow, though, it's hardly surprising that this has unfolded in Los Angeles.
Hollywood will always be Hollywood, but it's a damn shame that we're discussing comments made by an ESPN analyst on the eve of a Game 7.
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