DALLAS — So it begins, the Mike Brown era in Los Angeles.
Well, almost. The deal hasn’t been finalized just yet. But from all indications, the former Cavaliers coach is set to replace Phil Jackson as coach of the Lakers.
Of all the names tossed out for that job, Brown’s came seemingly from out of nowhere. Rick Adelman was rumored to be the front-runner early on and there was always the Brian Shaw option.
But it appears, as Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports, that Brown is the choice:
The Lakers have put together a deal to hire former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown as their new coach, an NBA official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter said late Tuesday.
If Brown agrees to the deal, he’ll sign a contract worth between $4 million and $4.5 million per season, the official said. Brown would sign for three years, with a team option on the fourth season that would give him partial pay if he was not retained.
Brown, 41, became the front-runner because Jim Buss, the team’s executive vice president of player personnel, was impressed with his defense-minded style.
Brown doesn’t seem like the Hollywood hire that the Lakers would have needed to fill the void left by Jackson. But who would have been?
As far as his credentials, Brown is as strong a candidate as anyone on the list. In five seasons with the Cavaliers, Brown compiled a 272-138 record, leading LeBron James and crew to the top of the Eastern Conference heap. Twice during Brown’s tenure the Cavaliers piled up the best record in the league. Brown was NBA Coach of the Year in 2009 and led the Cavs to the NBA Finals in 2007, when they were swept by the Spurs.
But the real test for Brown — and to a larger extent for the man behind the move, Buss — is how Brown resonates with Lakers Nation.
Only time will tell.