SMU's Larry Brown says he's not a candidate to coach the Lakers

You'd think Larry Brown would be used to this by now, but the well-traveled SMU coach says he was "blindsided" by reports that he was a candidate to coach the Los Angeles Lakers.

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You'd think Larry Brown would be used to this by now, but the well-traveled SMU coach says he was "blindsided" by reports that he was a candidate to coach the Los Angeles Lakers.

Brown, 73, told The Dallas Morning News he was surprised to be linked with the Lakers' opening, but it probably has to do with his relationship with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak.

Brown and Kupchak were both coached by Dean Smith at North Carolina. Now Brown is interested in Kupchak's high school-aged son, Maxwell, as a recruiting target. Meanwhile, Brown said he is also trying to get Kupchak interested in giving former SMU guard Nick Russell a tryout with the Lakers.

"Mitch and I go way, way back," Brown told The News. "We go away and play golf every summer.

"We're Carolina guys, we're close. He's a great friend, but that doesn't mean I'm going to be the next coach of the Lakers."

Brown coached the Detroit Pistons to an NBA title in 2004, but says he's not interested in returning to the pro ranks --€“ or coaching anywhere else, for that matter.

"Everybody always asks me if I am staying, and my standard line is, I want to watch my kids graduate from SMU," said Brown, whose son, L.J., will be a sophomore there.

Brown also said he remains loyal to SMU for giving him an opportunity to coach at his age. That loyalty was rewarded last season when Brown led the Mustangs to the NIT title game.

There are other good reasons for Brown to stay, including the arrival of top-rated recruit Emmanuel Mudiay. SMU also learned Tuesday that Xavier forward Justin Martin will be transferring to the Hilltop. The 6-6 Martin averaged 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds last season and will be immediately eligible.

"I've got Emmanuel coming here and we've got a lot of the best players in the country interested in coming here," Brown told The News. "I'm just thankful to be in this situation."

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire