The Vote of Confidence strikes again.
Not going to lie -- I'm a little surprised the Lakers moved this fast, but as I wrote last night the most compelling reason to make a quick change is time. The Lakers don't have much of it to work with, and if management thought in holding off they'd likely be having the same internal conversations about Brown's viability six weeks from now -- and clearly they did -- today's move is the correct one. Without a doubt, even if the Lakers turned things around on the upcoming homestand, Brown would be a focus of attention throughout the year, and into the playoffs. Could he build the sort of credibility with his team required to win a title, as Erik Spoelstra did in Miami?
They decided not to find out.
ESPNLA's Ramona Shelburne reports either Bernie Bickerstaff or Chuck Person will coach the team tonight against Golden State, and going forward on an interim basis. (UPDATE: It will be Bickerstaff.)
The big question now is obvious: Who is the team's next head coach?
Because it's the Lakers, the names most likely thrown around will have the highest Q-ratings on the list of available coaches. It'll start with speculation about Phil Jackson, and move through Jerry Sloan, Nate McMillan, and Mike D'Antoni. Even Jeff Van Gundy's name will be tossed around, despite the way things ended between Dwight Howard and Jeff's brother Stan. But as this afternoon, all indications are there is nobody lined up for the job. Given how much a lack of gravitas hurt Brown both with his team and the media, it would be surprising to see the Lakers go with an unproven guy. (The possible exception being Person, a very well regarded assistant seen around the league as an up-and-comer.)
They'll try to go big, and generally speaking when the Lakers try to go big, they succeed.
The important thing for the Lakers is to properly diagnose the problem. For all the consternation over the Princeton offense, it was the defense repeatedly failing the Lakers this season. For that matter, the Lakers regressed on that end last season, too. So while a guy like D'Antoni would certainly generate incredible excitement, is he the guy who will fix them defensively? Is Sloan's personality the right fit? Is Phil willing to come back, and if he's willing are the batteries fully recharged? Because in his last season, Jackson didn't seem to be all there. A return for Brian Shaw seems highly unlikely, given how much acrimony surrounded his interview process following Phil's departure.
The move will certainly shake up the team, and drive home the urgency of the season. The Lakers aren't screwing around, and will do whatever it takes to preserve the first of what appears to be a two-year window with this group. It started today with the firing of Brown, and if things don't get better could extend to changes in the roster.
Nor will they wait too long to find Brown's replacement. Again, time is of the essence, as demonstrated by today's events.