Did Kobe Bryant Defend Mike Brown or Speed the Firing Process?

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIMarch 30, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12:  Kobe Bryant #24 talks with head coach Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half while taking on the Denver Nuggets in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

No story has caught the attention of the national media quite like the Los Angeles Lakers' 1-4 start to the 2012-13 NBA regular season. As a result of their overwhelming shortcomings, USA Today reports that the Los Angeles Lakers have fired head coach Mike Brown.

This has been confirmed by Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and the fact that assistant coach-turned-interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff led the Lakers to a 101-77 victory over the Golden State Warriors. That now brings their record to 2-4.

As for why this firing transpired in the first place, quiet speculation suggests that franchise shooting guard Kobe Bryant had a hand in the decision. Bryant infamously gave Brown the "death stare" during the Lakers' 95-86 loss to the Utah Jazz on November 7.

Two days later, Brown is out of a job.

Keep in mind, the Lakers failed to confer with Bryant when they hired Brown in the first place (via Los Angeles Times). In the ensuing months, the team would discover mediocre regular-season success and a 4-1 series defeat in the Western Conference Semifinals.

So was it Kobe who ran Brown out of town? Or was he an innocent bystander in this affair?

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, Kupchak made the move based off of an evaluation of team success and progression. Not Bryant's personal morale.

"Today we relieved Mike Brown of his head coaching duties with the Los Angeles Lakers. Mike is a good man. Very hard working, maybe one of the hardest-working coaches that I've ever been around," general manager Mitch Kupchak said. "The bottom line is that the team is not winning at the pace that we expected this team to win and we didn't see improvement. We wish Mike well and we're sorry it ended this way. So, we've decided to move in another direction and make a change."

Kupchak would proceed to explain the specific reasoning behind the firing of Brown. The main source of the decision came because of the risk that would be taken in displaying any form of long-term patience.

The following comes via Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times.

"After five games, we just felt that we weren't winning," Kupchak said. "We made a decision. Maybe it would have changed a month or three months down the road, but with this team we didn't want to wait three months and then find out it wasn't going to change."

Regardless of who had the final word in this issue, Kupchak was justified in making the move.

Had Kupchak remained patient, there would be the potential for the Princeton offense to flourish. The Lakers could have thrived with their motion offense and become the championship contender we've all come to expect.

But what if it hadn't gone as planned?

The Lakers would have spent the next two to three months struggling to reach the level of success expected of them. As a result, they'd enter the postseason hunt far behind the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

So far behind that they may not have been able to recover.

For that reason, it becomes irrelevant as to who was behind the firing of Brown. The basis for his termination was beyond reasonable, and the Lakers are now in a better place than they were mere hours ago.

With Brown out of the picture, look for Kobe to thrive and the Los Angeles Lakers to discover victory. More importantly, expect their new head coach to be one that is not only a great basketball mind, but a perfect fit.

Unfortunately for Brown, he only fit the bill for one of those two labels.