Los Angeles Lakers Vice President of player personnel Jim Buss sat down with the “Los Angeles Times” on Friday and told the paper that Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant should have been consulted before the team hired former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown to take over for the retiring Phil Jackson as the team’s new bench boss. Buss said “Looking back on it, we should have contacted Kobe. Kobe said it was management’s job to pick a coach. He just said, ‘Defense first.’ That’s what we were doing, but we should have reached out to him.”
Brown stressed defensive intensity during his five years as coach of the Cavaliers. He took the team to the Playoffs each year he was on the bench including the team’s only trip to the NBA Finals in the history of the franchise in 2007 when they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Buss told the paper that he believes that Kobe will come to like and respect his new coach. He said “The way Mike impressed the three of us, I would think Kobe would be impressed as well. Mike is a workaholic and Kobe is the workaholic.”
Reports surfaced soon after the team hired Brown that Bryant was “confused” that the team did not ask for his input on the hiring. The paper asked the son of Lakers Team Owner Jerry Buss if he thought that Brown would have any problems as Kobe has a habit of going outside the parameters of the offense. He responded “I’ve seen Kobe go off the place a few times, but I’m sure the coach will know how to handle it. My dad loves Kobe and so do I; we think he has a lot left. And I know Mike has some ideas on how to elongate Kobe’s career.”
The Lakers guard still has not commented on the record about Brown’s hiring. He was contacted soon after Brown was hired and told reporters that he had no comment.