- Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer
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SAN ANTONIO -- The Los Angeles Lakers said all the right things Wednesday after it became official that Mike Brown, who was let go by the Lakers in November after the team's 0-8 preseason and 1-4 regular season start, was rehired by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"Mike’s a great coach," said Mike D'Antoni, Brown's replacement in L.A. "He’ll do a great job."
"I’m happy for him," said Pau Gasol, one of the eight players on the Lakers roster who played for Brown in 2011-12, his only full season in L.A. "I think Mike is a really good coach, so he’s going to I’m sure help Cleveland be a better team. They have a young team. Mike is a hardworking coach. Very dedicated. Pays attention to detail. So, he’s going to help them out."
Said Steve Nash: "He’s an extremely hard worker, a very passionate basketball person. He has an emphasis on defense and he does a great job. I think he’s a very good coach."
Added Dwight Howard: "I’m happy for him. He’s a great guy and he’s back in Cleveland, so I’m pretty sure he’s happy about that."
It remains to be seen just how happy Lakers management will end up about the development.
The Lakers owe Brown approximately $7 million for the remaining two years on his contract with the team, but the Cleveland hiring will offset some of that. According to a team source, the Lakers expect "at most" half of what they owe Brown to be offset and that the $3-4 million that it would amount to would be a "grain of sand on the beach" when it comes to impacting the Lakers' finances. The Lakers will not know the final amount they will save on the Brown hiring until his new contract with the Cavs is finalized and approved by the league, which could take "up to a month," according to the source.
The other way Brown's hiring could be felt in L.A. is with D'Antoni's coaching staff. All but two of D'Antoni's assistants -- his brother, Dan D'Antoni and Chuck Person, who was hired when Phil Jackson was the head coach -- were brought on by Brown.
That means that D'Antoni could have significant spots on his staff to fill next season if Brown attempts to lure assistant coaches Steve Clifford, Bernie Bickerstaff, Darvin Ham, player development coach Phil Handy or the team video and support staff of Kyle Triggs, J.J. Outlaw and Tom Bialaszewski.
"You know what? I’m thinking about San Antonio, that’s all I got time for," D'Antoni said Wednesday when asked if he's considered what his coaching staff could look like next season. "Then we’ll figure out everything else later. No, I’m not even thinking about it."
3dAmin Elhassan and Baxter Holmes