The Los Angeles Lakers have never started 1-4 in Kobe Bryant's entire career, but that was the reality under second-year head coach Mike Brown. It ultimately cost the 2009 NBA Coach of the Year his job on Friday (h/t USA TODAY).
A number of names will surface to take over the Lakers' position in the wake of Brown's departure, but the solution is not to bring in Stan Van Gundy as Brown's on-spot successor.
Mark J. Spears of Yahoo confirmed the breaking news on Twitter:
"Mike just called saying he was relieved of his duties," agent Warren LeGarie tells Y! Sports about the ex-Lakers coach.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) November 9, 2012
Bryant is definitely battling through pain—what else is new?—and newly acquired point guard Steve Nash has a slight fracture in his leg that is holding him out of the lineup (via NBA.com).
Chemistry issues are plaguing the Lakers right now, and the team won't establish their true offensive identity until their entire projected starting five is healthy—especially with a coaching change looming.
Although Van Gundy's up-tempo style of offense may suit this LA team quite well considering its personnel, the size of his personality would not likely mesh well with the egos of Bryant and superstar center Dwight Howard.
According to Van Gundy's own account back in April, Howard forced the Orlando Magic's hand in having him fired as the team's head coach (h/t Ian O'Connor, ESPN New York). That doesn't seem like a match made in heaven for the second time in such a short span.
With more viable, laid back candidates on the market such as Jerry Sloan and Mike D'Antoni—and even current members of the Laker staff capable of filling in at least on an interim basis—it would be shocking if GM Mitch Kupchak decided to pull the trigger on hiring Van Gundy.
Then again, the sudden firing of Brown was an extremely surprising development. A report by Ramneet Singh of LakersNation.com indicated that Kupchak was going to exercise patience about the coaching situation in spite of any outside pressure.
That tune changed drastically just hours later.
Kupchak hasn't been afraid to be aggressive in order to mold the Lakers into contenders during his tenure as general manager, but Van Gundy would be far too bold of a move even for him.
It may make sense from an X's and O's standpoint. However, the wildly fluctuating nature of the former Magic coach's demeanor renders the logic unsound to support him as a potential candidate to fill the coaching void for a struggling Lakers team.
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