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Caught in the Web: Jim Buss talks to The Times' T.J. Simers about hiring Mike Brown

Photo: Jim Buss fields a reporter's questions at the team's training facility in El Segundo. Credit: Los Angeles Times/ August 23, 2005. --The Times' T.J. Simers talks to Lakers executive Jim Buss, who says the Lakers interviewed three coaching candidates and acknowledges he should've told Kobe Bryant ahead of time the Lakers were hiring Mike Brown.

--The Times' Mark Heisler shares a pessimistic view regarding whether there will be an NBA lockout.

--The Times' Chris Dufresne talks to former colleagues and players of Lakers Coach Mike Brown.

--The Portland Tribune's Kerry Eggers talks to Rick Adelman about the Lakers courting him. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky talks to Clippers guard Mo Williams about playing for Brown.

--Fox Sports' Randy Hill details Brown's coaching history. 

--The New York Times' Peter May argues Brown's arrival ushers in a new era for the Lakers.

--The Orange County Register's Mark Whicker looks at who the Lakers could take in the NBA Draft.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano believes fans need to be patient about what Brown will do for the Lakers. 

--NBA Playbook's Sebastian Pruiti looks at how Brown's offense will affect Kobe Bryant

Tweet of the Day: "Top five sexy female stars Halle berry Meagan fox Nicole from pussy cat dolls Shakira Gabriel union" -- ronartest (Lakers forward Ron Artest)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "The Lakers biggest need is at point guard. Right behind that would be a scorer from small forward position. The Lakers two strengths are at shooting guard and in the frontcourt. Moving L.O. or Pau should be only to bring in a point guard or a small forward. Dwight Howard is lurking, everyone is waiting for him to go 'Melo on the Magic and demand a trade - but the fact is we have an excellent, young center (despite a lot of unwarranted bashing around these parts!) so Dwight is NOT as important as picking up a premiere point guard, CP3 for instance would be infinitely more valuable a pickup than Howard.

If we trade a core-piece of this team, L.O. probably would have the highest trade value coming off his 6th man award and incredible versatility. If Mitch is able to get any value at all for Luke or Ron Ron they should scrap the plans for the Kareem statue and depict him instead. As for the Finals: GO MAV'S! Prediction: Heat in 6 AS ALWAYS - AND FOREVER - GO LAKERS!!!!!!" -- CyberCosmiX

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Jim Buss fields a reporter's questions at the team's training facility in El Segundo. Credit: Los Angeles Times/ August 23, 2005.

 
Comments () | Archives (29)

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"Hopefully, Jim is making that statement to keep other teams from feeling the Lakers are desperate to trade because I think the competition will be even greater next year and the Lakers a year older."
-LakerTom

This is exactly why we need a significant upgrade at the PG position. One reason our defense fell apart last year is that our bigs got tired of doing all of the defensive work. You can't expect your bigs to guard their men AND stop the penetrating guards at the same time. We need a guard who can stay IN FRONT of his man and not just be the lackey who "funnels" his man into the paint. We need D. Williams or CP3 to plug up this huge gaping hole in our defense as well has get the ball and the players on the court moving on offense.

The rest of the League is no longer afraid of this Laker Squad. Our weaknesses have been exposed and if we continue with the same lineup, I give our chances of making it to the top of the mountain a less than 10% chance.

"Trades are easier to do here than in actual life. Much as I want to see one happen, to use one of our PFs to get a PG, I give it a less than 50% chance."
-Tom Daniels

I agree that they are much easier to pull off here than in real life. BUT, if a player like CP3 or Deron Williams demands to be traded, and one of their options is here, than we have the upper hand in the situation.

Also, once a franchise player demands to be traded, or even hints that he is unhappy with his present situation, it never works out that the team he leaves behind gets handed a different franchise player in return. I can't recall a single example of when this happened in the past.

I also beleive that Pau or Lamar and or a combo of Lamar/Artest or a combo of Pau/Artest is a very good return if you are looking at what other teams can offer in comparison. Pau has proven to be a huge asset(when focused) in either being the go to guy or a second option on a championship team. Artest obviously isn't the same guy he was three years ago, but he does provide toughness and can still shutdown many small forwards in this League.

As for the issue of Kobe not being consulted regarding the coaching search: the front office has no obligation to ask one of its employees whether or not he approves of the new coach. Plain and simple: Kobe is the one who needs to "fall in line" with any decisions that the front office or the new coach makes. He is paid HEAVILY to perform as a PLAYER, not as an owner, GM, assistant coach, consultant, or scout.

I do agree that the FO did consider how the new coach would fit with their franchise player, but to give said player veto power is just plain ridiculous.

@Cyber
Congrats on the well deserved Friedman! This was my favorite line: "If Mitch is able to get any value at all for Luke or Ron Ron they should scrap the plans for the Kareem statue and depict him instead."

I want to send out a big THANK YOU! to all the men and women who have served or serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. You are very appreciated and deserve more than one day a year to be recognized for the selfless and humble job of protecting our freedom!

There you have it Adelman was interviewed. So Heisler's column was utter nonsense.

On the interview with Dan Patrick, Kupchak said they informally talked to five or six coaches, and formally they interviewed three people. Patrick tried to get him to name the 5-6 coaches, but Mitch said he wasn't going to get into that. Posted by: LRob2 | May 29, 2011 at 10:11 PM [ http://bit.ly/mAwVO9 ]

---

Wow. Great catch. That's what I call ON the ball.

So Kupchak is *on the record* corroborating Jim Buss' version of events (3 decision-makers, 3 candidates interviewed). So 2 of the 3 Laker principals involved per Jim B's version -- i.e., the *only* 3 principals privy to *all* communication, long or brief, between team and candidates -- are on record *AND* on the same page. The only Laker principal we've yet to hear from on SMEARGATE is Dr. Buss himself.

Meanwhile, news accounts covering the Patrick/Kupchak interview you've described include, so far:

Elliot Teaford, Daily Breeze [ http://bit.ly/lDO17O ];

Kevin Ding, OC Register [ http://bit.ly/iYHWYo ];

Sean Deveney, Sporting News [ http://bit.ly/kyOJ4M ]

... *AND* an actual transcript from Michael Bean of SportsRadioInterviews.com [ http://bit.ly/m04f4Z ] .

So, if we're keeping track, it's Kupchak + Jim Buss ON THE RECORD (Defendants) v. the printed accusations of Heisler, Wojnarowski, unnamed "league executives", "various NBA officials" etc (Plaintiffs) on the life/death matter of what Kupchak + Jim Buss + Jerry Buss allegedly did or didn't do & who they allegedly interviewed or didn't interview for The Succession.

Tough choice.

Not.

Of course, the loophole here is what constitutes a "formal" interview. Posted by: LRob2 | May 29, 2011 at 10:11 PM

----

Nah. There's no "loophole" just as there's no authoritative, universal declaration, definition or recognition of what, exactly, constitutes a "formal" interview. According to Kupchak, the Lakers compiled a list of coaches, contacted 5 or 6 -- which contact may include"informal" discussions of various depths -- and then, according Kupchak *and* Jim Buss, "formally" interviewed 3.

"Formal" in this context could simply mean 2nd or next level discussions following the initial contact.

If journos are accusing Kupchak & the Busses of lying about Kupchak & the Busses, it wouldn't be the first nor last example of dog-chase-tail.

Plus, it's not as if Heisler himself made any distinction (btw "formal" and "informal").

Heisler 'reported': "Jim shut down the interview process after meeting one candidate, Mike Krzyzewski-er, Brown, who is certainly charming and determined."

Which defies credulity, because Heisler, in addition to the 3 lies [ http://bit.ly/kM8bgR ], essentially says Buss only "met" with Brown, never "met" with Shaw (regarding the vacancy). I mean, how could you not "meet" with the leading in-house candidate for said vacancy?

Kobe "deconfused."

ESPN [ http://es.pn/ley0lN ]:

"[After] the Lakers struck an agreement with Brown on Wednesday, [sources] told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin that [Kobe] Bryant has great respect for Brown and is on board with the hiring, despite not being consulted about the choice."

Interesting guesswork by Sebastian Pruiti [ http://bit.ly/jw0hvz ] via TrueHoop on Kobe's role in Brown's offense based on Kuester/LeBron.

READING BETWEEN THE LINES
........................................................
Lost in the myriad of reactions and overreactions to the Lakers hiring Mike Brown was the statement from Brown that he already had some ideas about how to better use Kobe Bryant. That overlooked comment may end up being a major reason why Mike Brown will be a success as the Lakers coach.
...
I think one of the Lakers problems last year was that they really did not make the best use of Kobe Bryant. Too often he would get the ball late, which often led to difficult low percentage shots. Mike Brown and his staff need to design plays to get Kobe high percentage shots other than isolation.
...
I’ve never really had a problem with the number of shot attempts Kobe takes; my issue has always been with his shot selection. I would like to see an offense designed to get Kobe easy baskets and the energy spent in isolation plays devoted towards really playing first team All-NBA level defense.
...
Based on his comments, Kobe is obviously not ready at this point in his career to make major changes in his game and who is to say that having a summer where he can work on his body and not rehab a knee might be all Kobe needs to rejuvenate his career and hold off the pretenders.
...
The Lakers are still a few years from the Andrew Bynum era and Mike Brown is wise to want to make better use of Kobe while extending the years he can play at an elite level. Let’s make offense easier for Kobe so that he will have the energy to expend helping solve our perimeter defense problem.
...
Nobody really likes change once we become comfortable but I think once Kobe sees what Mike has in mind for him offensively and defensively, including using him to help solve the Lakers’ perimeter defense issue, he will embrace the changes as an opportunity to revitalize his game and reputation.
........................................................
TOM


My respect for Jim Buss has gone up.

He's doing something right here in opening his door, even if it's for TJ Simers, whom I'm also noticing a turn around in his career as a journalist/commentator.

Those of you that know my posts should realize it's a big deal for me to say that my respect has gone up for Jim (and TJ).

Still, he DID make a fairly large mistake by NOT involving Kobe on any level. He didn't have to run this or any other decision by Kobe first or anything, only involve a little more in the process, even if it was just courtesy. By not doing this, it made the front office look really out of touch and made Jim Buss look like a loose cannon.

You put that fire out by doing exactly what he's doing. Get out there and talk!

Nice work. Now don't screw up like that again.

I don't like the thought that we don't need a major upgrades. We NEED upgrades!!!

1. Our bench lacks firepower. It wasn't always this way, and we've gone backwards in the last two years: Ratliff for Mbenga, Smith for Sasha, Blake for Farmar - all pretty large mistakes.
2. We have no PG. Derek is a fantastic leader and high quality person, but his contributions on the floor this season were sorely lacking. He had a great playoffs last year but also left a lot to be desired during the season as well. Therefore it's a pattern, and he's not getting younger.

As troubling as Artest has been, I'm still hopeful about him.

But I do have to agree with many on this blog that drool over D Will or Cp3. For me, it's Cp3 all day every day. He would make an enormous difference both short term and long term.

We need a super three. Right now we have a super 2 with some quality around them. I really feel like today's top teams have more firepower than that though. If Bynum can turn in Shaq and Pau can turn back into Pau then we're probably good (assuming someone decent at PG and a respectable bench). Otherwise, I'd look hard for a major upgrade somewhere to give us three go-to weapons on any given possession.

Kevin Pelton on The Meaning of Mike Brown to +/- and What Brown Might Do For You.

---

Researcher Jeremias Engelmann has used data from a five-year period to evaluate coaches by adjusted plus-minus. The results generally pass the laugh test, though they are not especially kind to Jackson (at +0.7 points per 100 possessions, not much better than average).

The numbers are more favorable for Brown. Accounting for the Cavaliers' lineups, this method suggests Brown improves his team by 1.5 points per 100 possessions, ranking him 12th among all coaches over this period. Most of Brown's success is indeed traced to defense, where his coaching is responsible for shaving 1.2 points per 100 possessions off his team's defensive rating, but Brown comes out above average on offense as well.

Coaching adjusted plus-minus isn't nearly reliable enough to compare Brown to Jackson, or most other coaches, with any kind of confidence. What it does say with some certainty is that Brown has a positive influence as a coach and is not the kind of offensive disaster he was once considered.

---

Bresnahan (via Twitter http://bit.ly/mK4Q1d ): "Lakers will officially introduce Mike Brown as next head coach tomorrow [Tue] at 3 at their training facility in El Segundo."

Posted by: latopia | May 30, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Gulp. Sorry for the dupe (already posted by MM). AGAIN.

@CCX ... Congrats on the Friedman. Needless to say, I agree 100% with your intelligent post. To me, it would be foolish to trade Drew for Dwight when it would take away scarce dollars that we need to invest in a new point guard. And the idea of having to take back Arenas huge contract would really turn off the Lakers front office. Pau or Lamar for a point guard and 3-point shoot would work. I still like the idea of Pau and Blake for Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza. That is a real possible deal IMO.
...
@MCLINE ... Thanks for several outstanding posts. I’m right there with you on trading one of our power forwards for a point guards. I also noted that Jim Buss said it was a mistake not to notify Kobe in advance of the Mike Brown hiring. He did not say it was a mistake not to involve Kobe in the decision. That’s a nuance that is important to recognize. As you say, it just is not Kobe’s job. Like most things in Lakersville, in the end I think it’s just more hype and hullabaloo about nothing.
...
@TIM-4-SHOW ... Excellent post. Jim did much to dispel the image that the media and disgruntled fans had created portraying him as the bumbling son disrespectful of the great franchise his father had created. I hope you lead in giving Jim the benefit of doubt on his decisions will spread. It seems obvious from his interview that big decisions are being made with the full involvement of Jerry Buss as well as Mitch Kupchak. That’s a transition process that makes perfect business sense to me.
...
I also agree with your comments about needing to upgrade the point guard position especially. In retrospect, it was also obviously a mistake to let Farmar go. You wonder how he would be with Mike Brown as the coach. Same with Sasha. At any rate, let’s hope the Lakers get a chance to make a move for the point guard we need. Deals are almost impossible to predict because of the multitude of factors that changes the dynamics, including the upcoming new CBA, but they will still happen.
...
@LATOPIA ... Excellent job pinning down the shaky and shady reporting by Mike Heisler. To me, any reporter who comes out with a totally negative story like he did based wholly on rumor and innuendo before even hearing from the major participants is a form of yellow journalism. Of course, the sad truth is the negativity and controversy are what make the mice click in this world.
...
Also appreciated the updates from Kobe’s camp and the +/- stuff about Mike Brown. All we can ask for to follow Phil Jackson would be a coach with a solid reputation and expertise at the defensive end who appreciates the greatness of Kobe Bryant and the advantage the Lakers have in the front court.
........................................................
TOM


Well it will be interesting to see a coach who paces the sideline and sweats through his suit again.

Thx LT. MM does a gr8 job w/the blog. Just trying to help.

Another thing I almost missed: MM's link to a story by Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune [ http://bit.ly/iVppAR ] where Adelman *clearly* confirms contact + discussion = interview with the Lakers.

---

Last week, Adelman interviewed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a potential replacement for head coach Phil Jackson. Adelman, Mike Dunleavy and Brian Shaw were passed over for Mike Brown.

Owner Jerry Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak were among the Laker management team that met with Adelman.

“The Lakers thing was very interesting,” he says. “They called me immediately; you have to listen. I was impressed with them. They had a really good feel for everything.

“They have a ready-made team, one of the best teams in the league. A lot of things go with that — following Phil, the whole scene there. We had a good discussion, but I hadn’t decided what I was going to do. If (an offer) had come my way, I’d have had a decision to make. But they made a good choice. Mike has been through the pressure thing with LeBron” James."

---

Posted by: HmrHed | May 30, 2011 at 01:49 PM

---

LOL. If that doesn't rate a comment of the day, what does?

(note to MM: please permanently exclude moi from any consideration for same; anonymity *much* preferred)

"Lost in the myriad of reactions and overreactions to the Lakers hiring Mike Brown was the statement from Brown that he already had some ideas about how to better use Kobe Bryant."
-LakerTom

I too am excited that there will actually be multiple plays set for Kobe to run his man through screens so he can get open jumpers or drives to the rack. After reading and watching the article by Pruiti which outlined Mike Brown's sets for Lebron, I think he will fit with Kobe much better than most of us had originally anticipated. I think this coming season we will see an energized Kobe that won't have to work so hard on every single posession in order to get himself or another teammate a good shot.

@MCLYNE … Thanks for your response. We need to give Mike Brown a chance to show us what he meant. I’ve always hated how hard Kobe has to work for his shots compared to other superstars in the league. Designing plays to get him easy shots could extend his career by years.

The other aspect I am excited about is Mike Brown using Kobe better on defense, not only putting an end to the free lancing but challenging Kobe to really earn that first team all-NBA status through his play. I find it ironic that we constantly talk about how our biggest problem is perimeter defense while we also have one of the top perimeter defenders in the game in Kobe Bryant. While we don’t want him chasing Ray Allen around screens, Kobe has shown he can stay in front of guys like Rondo and Westbrook. It should be interesting to see how Mike wants to use Kobe on the defensive end.
…………………………………………
TOM

Jim Buss being contrite about not informing kobe is just pr. If yall did listen to dan patrick interview of mitch last week yall would understand. They are saying ratings are up to historic levels due to king james. As lakers fans i know we are all green with envy over the chosen one. Yeah kobe helped us win 5 rings but still. It is like that best buy commercial showing people who purchased the latest technology but it becomes obsolete almost right away. In la we have a black mamba who is selfish, ball hog, bad teammate, engenders poor chemistry etc plus he is old and battling injuries. in miami they have the new sleek model who loves to pass more than he has to score. Plus he is a great teammate and fosters great team chemistry. In game 1 against dallas kobe took 28 shots with 0 assists. LBJ is averaging about 7 assists in the playoffs.

@Tim

"Still, he DID make a fairly large mistake by NOT involving Kobe on any level. He didn't have to run this or any other decision by Kobe first or anything, only involve a little more in the process, even if it was just courtesy. By not doing this, it made the front office look really out of touch and made Jim Buss look like a loose cannon."

I SAID IT ONCE AND I WILL SAY IT AGAIN, DID BUSS RUN IT BY SHAQ WHEN THEY CHOSE KOBE OVER SHAQ? I THINK WE ARE SEEING WHAT HAPPENED IN 2004 GOING FULL CIRCLE AGAIN. I BELIEVE THIS IS NOT ONLY THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD IN MANAGEMENT BUT CHANGING OF THE GUARD IN THE TEAM.

KOBE MADE A BAD STATEMENT SAYING "HE EAT FIRST". THAT'S THE MAIN REASON WHY THE TEAM GOT SWEPT. I BELIEVE THIS IS SHOWING IN COMES THE BYNUM ERA AND OUT GOES KOBE. I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISE IF KOBE IS TRADED BEFORE HIS CONTRACT IS UP.

@Island Priest

"In la we have a black mamba who is selfish, ball hog, bad teammate, engenders poor chemistry etc plus he is old and battling injuries. in miami they have the new sleek model who loves to pass more than he has to score. Plus he is a great teammate and fosters great team chemistry. In game 1 against dallas kobe took 28 shots with 0 assists. LBJ is averaging about 7 assists in the playoffs."

THIS IS WHAT THE KOBE APOLOGISTS DON'T SEE. IT'S LIKE ARGUING TO A BRICK WALL. THERE'S PLAYERS & FANS ALREADY COMPARING LBJ TO MJ WITHOUT LBJ WINNING A RING YET. AND ON THE OTHER SHOE, KOBE DIDN'T GET ANY COMPARISONS TO MJ UNTIL HE STARTED WINNING RINGS WITHOUT SHAQ TELLS YOU HOW MUCH MORE OF A GREATER PLAYER LEBRON IS TO OLD MAN KOBE.

I JUST HEARD THAT LBJ WAS PUSHING WADE TO WATCH HIS 2006 FINALS TAPES FOR ADDED MOTIVATION. EVEN THOUGH WADE IS REFUSING IT GOES TO TELL YOU HOW MUCH OF A LEADER LEBRON HAS BECOME NOT ONLY ON THE COURT BUT OFF THE COURT WITH HIS TEAMMATES.

@Mclyne1

"I too am excited that there will actually be multiple plays set for Kobe to run his man through screens so he can get open jumpers or drives to the rack. "

YEAH THAT'S ALL FINE BUT WHAT BROWN WILL EVENTUALLY REALIZED THAT HE'S NOT DEALING WITH A YOUNG LEBRON BUT AN AGING KOBE. RUNNING SETS FOR AN ATHLETE WITH NO LIFT IN HIS SHOT BECAUSE OF A BAD KNEE, FINGER INJURIES THAT HE IS REFUSING TO GET SURGERY, AND SHOT FIRST ASK QUESTIONS LATER, BROWN JUST MIGHT CHANGE THOSE SETS VERY QUICKLY.

JUST HOPE BROWN'S SETS ARE JUST SECONDARY OPTIONS IN HIS OFFENSE INSTEAD OF THE PRIMARY OPTIONS.

Mark Heisler was a very good writer.

About 20 years ago.

Mclyne1,

you wrote: As for the issue of Kobe not being consulted regarding the coaching search: the front office has no obligation to ask one of its employees whether or not he approves of the new coach. Plain and simple: Kobe is the one who needs to "fall in line" with any decisions that the front office or the new coach makes. He is paid HEAVILY to perform as a PLAYER, not as an owner, GM, assistant coach, consultant, or scout.

my response: You're right about the front office and obligation. The flip side
of it is that the Lakers are on the hook for ~ 30 mil per year. I believe that
Kobe also has a "no trade" clause. So ...

if you piss of your prime talent and he decides not to perform, who wins?
You can talk about more perogatives/imperatives all you want. However, at
the end of the game you want your coach & players on the same page.
What do you get by forcing Kobe to do something he doesn't like with someone
who can't win.

Already you have a ton of bozos [ Gunner & Island Priest ] who blame Kobe
for Drew not getting enough touches, despite him having his best playoffs
ever, & who blame Kobe for Pau playing like a chump, although Pau
acknowledges that it's all on him.

T.J. Simer article makes me feel a bit more comfortable, but not much more.

Anyhow, you can't trust anything T.J. Simers writes.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Gunner you are point on with your takes. You are right with people like hobbit etc being like brick walls. Even with a historic beating by the mavs due mostly to kobe's selfihness and bad leadership they still cannot criticise the snake. Gunner keep shooting.

@hobbitmage

"if you piss of your prime talent and he decides not to perform, who wins?"

MANAGEMENT WINS BECAUSE THEY SHOW OTHER PLAYERS THAT NO ONE (EVEN OLD MAN KOBE) IS ABOVE THE MANAGEMENT. PLUS, KOBE IS PASS PRIME. THIS IS BYNUM TIME TO SHOW. ROLE REVERSAL (ala Shaq force out by Kobe 2004)


@hobbitmage
"You can talk about more perogatives/imperatives all you want. However, at
the end of the game you want your coach & players on the same page.
What do you get by forcing Kobe to do something he doesn't like with someone who can't win."

RIGHT, COACH & PLAYERS. NOT COACH & KOBE. MOST OF THE TIME ALL PLAYERS BUT KOBE IS ON THE SAME PAGE. THE PROBLEM IS KOBE VEER TO HIS OWN ASSIGNMENT IS WHAT CAUSES THE PROBLEMS. FORCING KOBE TO DO SOMETHING HE DOESN'T LIKE? HE EITHER COMPLY OR ACCEPT ANOTHER 4-0 SWEEP NEXT YEAR.


@hobbitmage
"Already you have a ton of bozos [ Gunner & Island Priest ] who blame Kobe
for Drew not getting enough touches"

ONCE AGAIN, WHEN ONE CAN'T ARGUE FACTS, ONE TRIES TO ATTACK.


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