Mike Brown: Is New Lakers Coach Brown Set Up to Fail in LA?

Wes ODonnell@wesodonnellFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2011

CLEVELAND - MAY 03:  Head coach Mike Brown of the Cleveland Cavaliers shouts instructions from the bench while playing the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 3, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. Boston won the game 104-86 to tie the series 1-1. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have made it official: They are hiring Mike Brown as the new head coach of their basketball team.

The former Cleveland Cavalier coach has been working for ESPN as an analyst this year and is ready to get back into the game.

In 2009, Brown won the NBA Coach of the Year award for his work with the Cavaliers and LeBron James.

The hiring doesn't come without scrutiny, though, and many have always said that Brown simply went along for the ride on the LeBron bus in Cleveland.

From the Lakers' point of view, the signing makes sense for a few reasons.

One, Brown is a cheaper option than the other coaches still on the market and one of the Lakers' main goals was to lower coaching salary to under $5 million a year, and they did.

Two, the Lakers wanted a defensive-minded coach and that is exactly what Brown is.

Three, he has postseason experience during the LeBron run in Cleveland despite never winning a title.

The Lakers and Brown, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard, agreed to a 4-year, $18.25 million deal with the fourth year as a team option with a $2.5 million fee.

In terms of numbers it is a pretty good deal overall for the Lakers.

Whether you believe he is the best coach or not for the job is irrelevant at this point because he now hasΒ the job.

The question now is: Will he succeed?

The Lakers are old and have only one key player under the age of 30.

That one player, Andrew Bynum, is just as likely to be sitting on the bench in street clothes as he is to be out on the court.

Kobe Bryant is still playing at a high level, but as we saw this year, his body cannot keep doing it all alone.

And rumors were already circulating that Kobe wasn't happy about not being included in the decision to hire Brown, although Broussard also tweeted, "Kobe on board with hiring of Brown, has great respect for him, according to sources."

Los Angeles is locked up for three more years with Kobe, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest (although Artest has a player option in 2012) and Steve Blake.

Derek Fisher has a player option in 2012 and Luke Walton's contract runs throughΒ 2013.

As for Bynum and Lamar Odom, they are team options in 2012.

In short, the Lakers do not have a ton of wiggle room and have very few young players to cling to.

If they are to do anything it will have to center around a deal for Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol, or they send Odom away for a different piece.

So now we look to Mike Brown and can't help but think: Where is the youth going to come from?

Obviously Mitch Kupchak is going to make some type of move this offseason, but landing Dwight Howard isn't all that feasible at the moment.

Brown is going to make this team better defensively, but he'll be working with aging stars and very little speed.

That fourth year team option may very well be the end of Mike Brown's run because looking at this team right now, they aren't getting any better.

It's not necessarily fair to say it right now, but Mike Brown won't find life easy in Los Angeles.Β 


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