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Sunday, May 29, 2011
Jim Buss talks Mike Brown, Kobe Bryant

ESPNLosAngeles.com

Jim Buss, Los Angeles Lakers executive and son of owner Dr. Jerry Buss, says he regrets not talking to Kobe Bryant about the decision to hire Mike Brown as Phil Jackson's successor.

"Looking back on it, we should have contacted Kobe," Jim Buss said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that ran Saturday night. "Kobe said it was management's job to pick a coach. He just said, 'Defense first.' That's what we were doing, but we should have reached out to him."

Bryant had previously endorsed longtime Jackson assistant Brian Shaw to be promoted to the head-coaching job. The Lakers struck an agreement with Brown on Wednesday, and sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin that Bryant has great respect for Brown and is on board with the hiring, despite not being consulted about the choice.

During an interview on ESPN during halftime of Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Wednesday, Brown said he already had exchanged text messages with Bryant. Brown also said he's "looking forward to getting to know Kobe and being able to work with him to go and get us a championship."

Jim Buss, Lakers executive VP of player personnel, expressed confidence that Bryant would mesh well with Brown, according to the Times report

"The way Mike impressed the three of us, I would think Kobe would be impressed as well," Buss said. "Mike is a workaholic and Kobe is the workaholic."

Buss was unconcerned about the possibility that Brown wouldn't be able to corral Bryant's talents for the good of the team.

"I've seen Kobe go off the place a few times, but I'm sure the coach will know how to handle it," Buss told the newspaper. "My dad loves Kobe and so do I; we think he has a lot left. And I know Mike has some ideas on how to elongate Kobe's career."

The Lakers' bid for a three-peat ended unceremoniously when the Dallas Mavericks swept them in the Western Conference semifinals.

Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin was used in this report.