Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Owner's health factored into firing
The decision to fire Mike Brown just five games into the season was swift and bold, even for the Los Angeles Lakers. As it turns out, they had extra motivation.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Tuesday that the failing health of owner Dr. Jerry Buss factored into the speed of management's decision to fire Brown.
"The one thing that was a big factor is our lack of patience," Kupchak said in an interview with CBS Radio on Tuesday. "When we made the changes we made in the offseason, we really did it with a two- or maybe even a three-year window, probably a two-year window to do our best and win a championship.
"And clearly we knew Dr. Buss was not in great health, and we were hoping for the next year or two we could put something on the court that would result in being in the hunt at the end of the year for a championship."
Buss died Feb. 18 after a long battle with cancer, and his six children have assumed control of the team. Daughter Jeanie Buss has taken over her father's seat on the NBA Board of Governors, and is executive vice president of business operations. Son Jim Buss is the executive vice president of player personnel.
The Lakers won 10 of their 16 NBA titles in the 34 years Buss owned the team. The Boston Celtics have won 17 titles, a fact never lost on Dr. Buss.
Despite the offseason additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Lakers lost four of their first five games under Brown, who was fired Nov. 9.
"When we didn't feel we could get there after a preseason and a small number of games, we didn't feel we had the patience to wait and see if it was going to work out," Kupchak said. "That's really why we made the (coaching) change we made so early.
"We could've waited another month or two ... and if we would've waited another month, we could've turned it around, or we could've been 2-12. We just didn't want to wait. That's because we feel our best chance to win is this year and next year."