Lakers' decision to fire Coach Mike Brown is all about the win

'We made some bold moves in the off-season, and we expected better returns,' Jim Buss says. Now to find Brown's replacement. Paging Phil Jackson ...

Great news.

Phil Jackson is writing another book, "Eleven Rings," but it's not scheduled to be published until next year, so there's plenty of time to change the title.

And more great news as well for Devin Ebanks, who might be out celebrating for all we know.

He gets arrested early Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence, it becomes public a few hours later but is lost moments later with the hullabaloo surrounding the dismissal of Lakers Coach Mike Brown.

Maybe some others are troubled over the timing of Brown's departure, but I can't imagine Ebanks objecting.

As for everyone else, the Lakers being the championship Lakers and the most highly regarded franchise in town, how can there be any disagreement?

What do most fans expect from their favorite team, beyond every possible effort to win?

In many places that effort is promised but not made.

The Lakers weren't winning, the brain trust was unwilling to gamble that they would in time, and so they agreed to eat more than $10 million in guaranteed salary owed to Brown.

How many sports organizations would be willing to swallow such a financial loss in the name of winning?

"It's a lot of money," says Jim Buss. "But it just wasn't working."

Maybe it was a mistake to hire Brown, and with Friday's decision, that's hard to argue with. But the most important thing about making mistakes is correcting them.

Maybe there's an explanation for why ESPN.com quotes Buss as saying Brown's job is safe on Thursday, ESPN runs it on a crawl below much of its programming all day long, and Brown loses his job on Friday.

"I talked to the reporter and that's how I felt," says Buss. "But after the Utah game and the way it went, I saw my dad and talked to Mitch on the phone. There had been a lot of concern, some uneasiness the way things were going, beginning with the preseason. And then no progress game to game, the [Princeton] system just not sitting well with everyone.

"I just don't think the system worked for the players we brought in. The players did their best with it. But we just didn't see any progress, so we discussed it together and that was just it."

But maybe the Lakers are moving too quickly, with Brown getting a strike-shortened season a year ago and only five chances this season to excel.

"That would be the other side of the coin, and I understand that thinking," says Buss. "But we just felt we made some bold moves in the off-season, and we expected better returns."

The Lakers have one season to persuade Dwight Howard to remain, and this season and next remaining on Kobe Bryant's contract, and they are built to win now.

"I think everyone understands with the Lakers that if you are the coach you are expected to win right away," says Magic Johnson.

Thirty-one years ago this month, the Lakers fired Paul Westhead after a 7-4 start, allowing Pat Riley to take over. In hindsight, the Lakers knew what they were doing.

 

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