For Cavs’ Brown, Lakers a lesson of the past
Mike Brown doesn’t miss coaching the Los Angeles Lakers.
That’s understandable. Brown was the coach who replaced Phil Jackson. Brown had little shot of winning the game of popular opinion — even when he won. Mike D’Antoni replaced Brown, and Lakers fans still often pine for Jackson.
Anyway, back to Brown.
The Lakers fired him after five games last season. That’s right. Five.
Now, Brown returns to Los Angeles for the first time since that fairly bizarre split. He is now in his second stint as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
So that’s the Cavs, followed by the Lakers, followed by getting fired by the Lakers with 77 games to go, followed by the Cavs again.
Got it? Good.
"I’m a guy that’s able to move on pretty quickly and I’m enjoying the situation I’m in now," Brown told reporters from UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, where the Cavs held practice Monday.
In Brown’s first season in LA (2011-12), he led the Lakers to the second round of the playoffs in a lockout-shortened season.
His LA demise started shortly after that.
The Lakers obtained Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in separate trades the following summer. They still had Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. They entered the 2012-13 season with great expectations.
But they went 0-8 in the preseason and 1-4 to start the year. Brown got booted.
Considering what’s happened since (not much good), it would be unfair to say the disappointing Lakers were Brown’s fault. It just seemed like it.
Howard left via free agency, Nash and Bryant are injured and Gasol is supposedly on the trading block. Today, the Lakers’ leading scorer is Nick Young (16.3 ppg). These are a difference brand of Lakers, that’s for sure.
The Cavs (13-24) haven’t exactly been any great shakes, either. They won back-to-back games convincingly after the trade that sent Andrew Bynum (another former Laker) to the Chicago Bulls for All-Star forward Luol Deng. But that enthusiasm was tempered quite a bit after Monday’s 44-point loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Meanwhile, the Lakers (14-23) have lost four straight.
The teams were immersed in trade talks more than a week ago. Supposedly, the Cavs went hard after Gasol before landing Deng — who’s actually a better fit.
But those talks were between general managers, of course, and Brown is the coach. He doesn’t negotiate deals. He coaches the players he’s given.
He did it in Cleveland, he did it in LA, he’s doing it in Cleveland again. And he admitted his time with the Lakers, while ending less-than-ideally, was not just a waste of time.
"It matures you," Brown said. "You’re put in a lot of different situations that you may not be put in in Cleveland — with an older team, a veteran team that has experienced winning at a high level. You’re with one of the greatest all-time players in Kobe, Pau, you could go down the line. There’s a lot that you could learn and grow from, whether it’s good, bad, whatever. I felt I learned a lot on the floor and off the floor being (with the Lakers)."
Now he’s with the Cavs again, back in LA again, although just for a night. It may be a little confusing, but all we really need to know is it appears everyone has moved on. That’s especially true of Brown.