Jerry Buss wants Mike Brown out and Phil Jackson in.
Interesting read: apparently Jerry Buss is at the helm again?
Mike Brown had arrived at the Lakers' practice facility for the morning shootaround believing he needed a victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night to spare his job. Ownership and management had been meeting about him his future throughout Thursday, and general manager Mitch Kupchak advocated to give the beleaguered Brown longer than five games before firing him, sources said.
Jim Buss, the Lakers' executive vice president, had gone along with the plan on Thursday, but something changed overnight into Friday. Jerry Buss wanted Brown out, and wanted him out now. As Brown gathered his assistants to plan for Friday night's game, a request came for him to step outside the room. The forever chipper, eager Brown returned to his coaching staff 10 minutes later with a decidedly different disposition.
"They fired me," Brown simply said.
All around the franchise, the belief was that the decision had come from Jerry Buss, who had lost patience with his $100 million roster investment losing four out of five games to start the season. He was tired of the Princeton offense, tired of the season-ticket holders' complaining, tired of the coach who he let his son, Jim, hire two years ago. For the $100 million of payroll – and the $30 million more of luxury tax – the old man wanted to bring Showtime back to the Staples Center. This was Jerry Buss playing the part of patriarch again.
"We want Phil," the Lakers fans chanted on Friday night in the Staples Center. "We want Phil."
Jerry Buss' plan is to give the people what they want: the great Phil Jackson. They remember the five titles with the Lakers, but everyone wants to forget the end, the way that Jackson dragged himself, dragged a team, to the finish line. This job is a grind, and those cheers fade fast. There are no Hollywood endings in the NBA – just old guys staying too long, coming back for all the wrong reasons.
Phil Jackson needs to think long and hard, because this job demands something out of a man that maybe's no longer inside of him. Remember the way it ended two year ago, remember the way that Jackson, that the organization, that too many of the players no longer drove themselves. Remember, Phil Jackson knew it was time to go.