Skip to main content

L.A. Lakers fire head coach 5 games into season

By Jason Hanna, CNN
updated 6:44 PM EST, Fri November 9, 2012
head coach Mike Brown has paid the price for the Lakers' poor start to the new NBA season.
head coach Mike Brown has paid the price for the Lakers' poor start to the new NBA season.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lakers coach Mike Brown sacked after team's poor start to the new NBA season
  • His assistant Bernie Bickerstaff will be interim head coach for Friday night's game
  • Team's management decided to make the move Thursday following loss to Utah

(CNN) -- The Los Angeles Lakers' 0-8 preseason and 1-4 start to the regular season was too much for the front office to take.

The NBA team on Friday fired second-year head coach Mike Brown, whose efforts to implement a new offense and mesh free-agent signings with stars who won a title two years ago didn't turn into wins.

"Really, it came down to ownership and management looking at the record, looking at the improvement level, and wondering a month or two or three down the road, will we be in the same spot," General Manager Mitch Kupchak told reporters.

Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will be interim head coach for Friday night's game against the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers said.

The Lakers, just two years removed from an NBA championship, are loaded with high-profile talent with the likes of all-stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, and they added former league MVP Steve Nash and former Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard in the off-season.

Star served beer on busy LA freeway
'Magic' Johnson launches TV network
Metta World Peace forecasts the weather

But Nash has missed most of the season's early games with an injury, and the Lakers struggled with a complex new offense Brown was implementing.

"I never thought we got to the point where the offense was flowing," Kupchak said. "You could see flashes of it, but we never got to a point (where it was consistent through a game)."

A reporter asked Kupchak whether a desire to make Howard's first year a smooth one was a factor in the decision. The star center would be a free agent at season's end if he doesn't sign an extension.

"Obviously, we know he is a free agent this summer, and you want to make the experience for him as good as possible, but we have a lot of other people we need to (please) as well," Kupchak said.

Kupchak said the team's management decided Thursday night to make the move, a day after the Lakers lost a 95-86 game at Utah.

Brown released a statement saying he had great respect for the family of Lakers owner Jerry Buss "and the Lakers' storied tradition, and I thank them for the opportunity they afforded me."

"I have a deep appreciation for the coaches and players that I worked with this past year and I wish the organization nothing but success as they move forward," Brown said.

Before taking the Lakers job in May 2011, Brown, 42, compiled a 272-138 regular-season record in five seasons as head coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

CNN's Joseph S. Miller contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
U.S. Sport
updated 7:54 AM EST, Tue February 25, 2014
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
updated 1:00 PM EST, Mon February 24, 2014
Jason Collins became the first openly gay man to play in the NBA, wearing a Brooklyn Nets uniform in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
updated 9:01 AM EST, Wed February 26, 2014
USA Today called Madison Rising's performance of the "Star Spangled Banner" prior to a NASCAR race "spectacularly awful."
updated 10:13 AM EST, Fri February 21, 2014
A great football team combines inherent violence with a certain order, always imposed by the coaches and team leaders.
updated 11:45 AM EST, Sun February 9, 2014
New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, who received a 162-game doping suspension, withdraws his subsequent lawsuits.
When the Super Bowl kicks off in New Jersey, photographer John Biever was there. Just as he was for all of the 47 other Super Bowls.
updated 10:04 AM EST, Wed January 29, 2014
A cricket club based in Compton has turned neighborhood boys into gentlemen on the pitch. CNN's Paul Vercammen reports.
Music is becoming an increasingly big part of sport, whether on TV or at the stadiums -- but what does it add, asks CNN's Don Riddell?
updated 9:50 AM EST, Thu January 9, 2014
What is life really like for a gay sports star after they come out? U.S. footballer Robbie Rogers tells all.
updated 8:26 AM EST, Thu January 9, 2014
Phoenix Mercury basketball star, Brittney Griner talks to CNN about navigating the pressures of high school as a lesbian.
updated 9:36 AM EST, Sun January 12, 2014
Dennis Rodman has defended his "basketball diplomacy" trip to North Korea. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar offers his take.
updated 1:16 PM EST, Mon January 13, 2014
Mike Tyson reveals the stories behind his staggering rise and fall - and just what he was thinking when he bit that ear.
ADVERTISEMENT