Lakers: Rick Adelman Was GM Kupchak's Pick for Lakers' Coach, Not M. Brown

Imaan JalaliFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2011

Rick Adelman as Lakers coach? Close but no cigar
Rick Adelman as Lakers coach? Close but no cigarEzra Shaw/Getty Images

As you probably know by now, Mike Brown has been designated as the Lakers' coach going forward.

He is, in a multitude of ways, the epitome of what it means to be a coach for the NBA's new generation, specifically the Lakers, whose philosophy run diametrically opposite to the "old-school" approach held by Phil Jackson (and others).

Brown can diagram X's and O's in so many permutations so as to impress any physics or math professor. He offers solutions with fact-based reasoning, and is less inclined to pensively read the rhythms of the game from the sidelines. Rather than being a stolid observer, he will wear his emotions on his face and sleeves throughout games.

Mike Brown is a new breed of coach —not necessarily better or worse than his predecessor, the almighty Jackson— for a Lakers team that abruptly tuned out their former chief in the second round of the 2011 playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks.

What many are not apprised of, however, is that the Lakers almost made a very seamless transition from Phil Jackson to another classic contemporary of his, Rick Adelman, a similarly no-nonsense experienced and venerable coach.

According to Adrian Wojnarowksi's article on Yahoo entitled "Love and money lure Adelman to Minny," a brief snippet reveals that Rick Adelman, former coach of the Kings and Blazers, a nemesis of the Lakers in prior years and subject of antipathy from Lakers fans, was actually General Manager Mitch Kupchak's main choice for the Lakers' head coaching position.

In fact, if not for Jim Buss (the son of Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss), and his veto power, final approval rights and growing influence inside the organization, Rick Adelman would, as of this moment, be preparing for another Lakers' run in a season to be or not to be, not Mike Brown.

Essentially, Jim Buss believed Mike Brown is a better fit for the Lakers to the extent that he went over Mitch Kupchak's jurisdiction to make it a reality.

That being said, Jim Buss' executive decision remains without judgment until further notice, but it will be interesting to also note the quarreling power dynamics between Jim Buss, Mitch Kupchak and Jeannie Buss.

The Lakers' splintered executive paradigm actually became clear in the weeks following the their exit from the playoffs. Observers of the team have argued that Jim Buss is, in many ways, a primary reason why Phil Jackson left the team. Certainly, Buss' insistence to start anew, literally, with an entirely different voice of reason (Brown), going so far as to terminate the employment of those who co-existed alongside Jackson's tenure, is enough to arouse suspicion or at the very least, scrutiny.