The Los Angeles Lakers have found the replacement to future Hall-of-Fame coach Phil Jackson. Mike Brown is the man with the lead role in Laker land and it seems that most L.A. fans are upset. They had their hopes pegged on Rick Adleman, Brian Shaw and hoped that maybe Jeff Van Gundy would come in and save the day. But it was not meant to be as Mike Brown signed a 4-year deal to lead the Lakers to another championship.
For the Hornets, the Brown hiring means he’ll be needing assistants. Some speculate that Lakers management is cutting costs and that Brown was hired because he was a cheaper option, I don’t really buy that. New Orleans’ Michael Malone was a former assistant with Brown in Cleveland which boasted one of the best defenses in the NBA.
Brown has contacted New Orleans Hornets Coach Monty Williams to express his interest in having Hornets assistant Michael Malone join him in Los Angeles, according to an NBA official briefed on the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly.
The Hornets are mulling their options with Malone, the official said, because he is the No.1 assistant in New Orleans. But the official said the Hornets don’t want to keep anybody around who doesn’t want to be there.
Brown and Malone worked together in Cleveland for five years before the Cavaliers fired Brown after the 2009-10 season, and Malone joined the Hornets for the 2010-11 season.
Malone was given the defensive reins in Cleveland. His reputation as a defensive-minded coach continued in New Orleans because he helped the Hornets become the fifth-ranked defensive team in the NBA last season, allowing 94 points per game.
This is big news for the Hornets. Malone is the lead assistant in New Orleans and is credited with turning around the defense. For him to leave would be a huge gut-check to an organisations trying to build continuity. The Lakers job has notority and would certainly expose him for future head-coach gigs.
It seems that this all hinges on Malone. If he wants to take the opportunity to coach a Lakers team on the threshold of another championship then by all means go. But I can’t help but feel like he’s leaving a lot of unfinished work here in New Orleans. For him to get up and leave at first sight of a new and “better” job rings alarm bells for all Hornets fans.
What will this say to the players? “Oh okay we had something nice here, but the Lakers called and no one can give up that gig?!”
This potential move would the wrong way to start an off-season, because how long will it be before it’s not a coach, but a player?