Nuggets vs. Lakers: Magic Johnson Justified in Saying Mike Brown Is on Hot Seat

Austin GreenCorrespondent IMay 12, 2012

DENVER, CO - MAY 10:  Head coach Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers calls out a play from the sideline against the Denver Nuggets in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 10, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. 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 Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

If you believe Magic Johnson, heads are about to roll in Los Angeles.

With a potential Los Angeles Lakers meltdown on the horizon, Johnson didn't mince words about the stakes in tonight's Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets.

"Mike Brown will not be coaching the Lakers if they lose this game," Johnson said as an ESPN NBA analyst Friday. "They're going to run Mike Brown first out of town.Then second will be [Andrew] Bynum. Then third will be [Pau] Gasol."

Despite these remarks from Magic, Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears of Yahoo! sports reported that Brown was confident after meeting with Lakers management, and that the team will release a statement supporting their head coach.

Mike Brown's agent tells @SpearsNBAYahoo Lakers GM left him "confident" coach returns next year. ESPN reports he'd be fired w/ Game 7 loss.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 12, 2012

Lakers expected to release statement in support of Mike Brown in light of ESPN NBA analyst Magic Johnson's statement.

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 12, 2012

While Brown and the Lakers are saying all the right things now, I'm inclined to agree with Magic about the coach's future.

Only eight teams in NBA history have lost a seven-game series after leading 3-1. If the Lakers become the ninth, somebody has to go. And seeing as how Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are basically irreplaceable, Brown is the easy cut.

It wouldn't exactly be the most fair placement of blame, as the seven-footers' effort lately has been shameful. Bynum is getting outplayed by JaVale McGee—which should never happen in the playoffs—and Gasol couldn't have been more disengaged in the pivotal Game 6.

But as bad as they've been, it's Brown's head that will be placed on the chopping block if they lose.

Other than Kobe Bryant, nobody on the Lakers roster was going full speed in Game 6. And when a championship-tested team fails to show up in an elimination game, it's a good indicator that they've stopped listening to their ring-less coach. 

As Bynum proved with his comments in March, the players' respect for Brown is fickle. After back-to-back poor performances, it now appears that he has lost his team for good.

Despite all this talk of doom and gloom, however, Brown's job will be saved if the Lakers simply close out Denver tonight. But if they complete the final phase of this embarrassing collapse by losing at home, Brown will be sent to the unemployment line.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.