Brown's firing goes to show just how fragile jobs are in Los Angeles. After the team went 0-8 in the preseason and followed that up with a 1-4 start to the regular season, the Lakers brass decided it would be best to make Brown the culprit for a slow start.
If you couldn't guess, the Lakers are in obvious win-now mode. If you look at Brown's coaching record over the course of his NBA career, he's one of the best in terms of winning percentage. Here's a look at that, courtesy of ESPN's Stats and Information on Twitter:
Did you know? Mike Brown has 3rd-highest career win pct among active head coaches (.653). Only Tom Thibodeau & Gregg Popovich are better.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 9, 2012
If that doesn't tell you how desperate fans are getting and how hard the pressure is landing on owner Jerry Buss to win a championship this season, read these comments on Brown's firing, courtesy of Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
"Expectations are high, there's no doubt. The city is impatient," acknowledged Kupchak, who has grown the team's payroll to $100 million, plus a $30 million luxury tax for going over the league's salary cap. "At what point do you lose patience? Is it 1-15? Is it a higher number? A lesser number? I don't know right now. But we have a game Friday night and we're going to win it and try to build off that."
Speculation around the league is that Brown was a good coach in a bad situation. He obviously has the chops for the profession, taking the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2007 and finishing with the league's best regular season record on multiple occasions.
Former NBA player Antonio Davis weighed in on the firing on ESPN earlier on Friday. His sentiment matches up with players and coaches across the league—wrong place, wrong time for Brown. If he was going to get the ax this soon, he shouldn't have been the man for the job in the first place.
On the hot seat from the moment he took the job, Brown ultimately crumbled on one of the world's biggest stages. Of the players interested in his dismissal, it looks like Kobe Bryant is taking the brunt of the suspicion.
It didn't help that Bryant was caught on TV cameras staring at his head coach in the middle of the team's loss to the Utah Jazz.
Bryant won't let on if he had anything to do with Brown's firing. Here's his statement on Facebook following Brown's dismissal.
No doubt Kobe is saying all the right things. That begs the question: Is there more than one player in the locker room that helped to move the wheels along on the issue to make a coaching change? According to USA Today NBA writer Alex Kennedy, Dwight Howard had nothing to do with it.
While some players pushed for Mike Brown's firing, source says Dwight Howard didn't get involved. He doesn't like coach killer reputation.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) November 9, 2012
Either way, the coaching search is now in full swing. At the top of that list is Phil Jackson. Behind him include legendary Jerry Sloan, Mike D'Antoni (relationship with Steve Nash), Mike Fratello, Brian Shaw and Nate McMillan.
According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, Jackson is the obvious hire if he wants the position back.
Obviously, LA must hire Phil Jackson, who still lives in LA, if he wants it. No brainer!— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 9, 2012
Behind him, Shaw is a player favorite who interviewed for the opening after Jackson retired following the 2011 playoffs. Considered the favorite due to his relationship with Kobe, the Lakers went in another direction and Shaw moved on to Indiana.
The Lakers would have to request permission from the Pacers to talk to Shaw. Sloan has been retired since the middle of that 2010-11 season after he and Deron Williams couldn't remain amicable. Williams was traded to the Nets shortly after.
The process doesn't look like an easy decision, especially with the majority of candidates either with another team or out of the league altogether. A Lakers source had this to say about the head coaching search, as reported by ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne and Dave McMenamin.
"It's not going to be a long process; that's for damn sure," a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin. "But they're going to do their due diligence."
Lakers assistant Bernie Bickerstaff, a former NBA head coach, will assume control of the team on an interim basis while a coaching search gets underway.
Brown is no longer with the Lakers. His exit wasn't the biggest surprise of all time, but the timing certainly raised flags about the direction this team is headed and what lengths they'll go to get there.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.