Mike Brown’s time with Los Angeles was short. His Princeton offense was doomed from the start, as was his stay with the Lakers. When Phil Jackson walked away following a four game sweep by Dallas in 2011, the impact was felt immediately. What coach was going to come in and fill the void? Who would lead the Lakers into the future? Mike Brown was hired, and the world scratched their heads.
Brown had been the coach in Cleveland during the days of LeBron James and playoff runs. By the end of his tenure there, it was reported that James had grown tired of Brown. Evidently, Mitch Kupchak saw something in Brown that no one else did.
This storyline has played out before in L.A. Jackson left the team after the 2004 playoffs and was replaced by Rudy Tomjanovich, who coached the team for a total of 43 games before being replaced by an interim head coach who finished out the 2005 season. Phil Jackson returned for the 2005-2006 season, with a considerably larger paycheck than his first stint.
Fast forward to present day and we are looking at the same scenario. The Lakers are in shambles without Phil. There is a good chance that the Lakers front office will lure Jackson back with another high dollar deal, although it will probably only be for two years. Phil will reinstall his triangle offense, and the Lakers will make another playoff push.
Los Angeles will get their coach. With a roster that is aging, the importance of winning now cannot be stressed enough. The Lakers cannot afford to fall flat with Dwight Howard being a free agent at seasons end. At the same time, bringing Phil Jackson back shows the inability of the Lakers to move forward. They might win another title with Kobe and company, but then what? Phil Jackson won’t coach forever, and unless some miracle cryogenics therapy can keep Bryant young, the Lakers are in big trouble.
It almost shows a bit of a dependance issue for Kobe Bryant. It also affirms that Bryant calls the shots for the Lakers. Jackson is one of the greatest coaches of all time. Kobe is also one of the all time players to step on the court. Bryant’s inability to play for or win with another coach shows a weakness in The Black Mamba. Without Phil, he can’t get to the top. What the Lakers need to understand, is that Kobe’s time is short.
Will the Lakers keep looking to the past, or will they find a bridge to the future? The clock is ticking Mr. Kupchak, your move.