The Lakers' decision to fire Mike Brown didn't necessarily come as a surprise, given the team's sluggish start to the season. The timing of the move, however, just five games into the regular season, was a bit of a shock, including to Brown himself — according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, the coach was "caught off guard" by today's decision (Twitter link).
It appears the Lakers will make Bernie Bickerstaff the interim coach, but the team will almost certainly bring in a higher-profile name sooner or later. Here's some of the speculation flying around Twitter about possible replacements for Brown, with pros and cons for each potential candidate:
- Mike D'Antoni: The Lakers are reportedly considering the former Knicks head coach, though Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com argues that only Steve Nash would benefit from a D'Antoni hire (Sulia link). Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports adds (via Twitter) that D'Antoni's recent knee surgery will likely make him unable to coach until late December.
- Brian Shaw: Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com tweets that Shaw was the Lakers' players choice for head coach when Phil Jackson retired. However, Marc J. Spears and Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports suggest Shaw may not be a likely candidate, considering the "acrimony that ensued" when the Lakers front office chose Brown over Shaw.
- Phil Jackson: Arash Markazi of ESPNLA.com argues that Jackson is the best fit for the Lakers, rather than a rookie head coach like Shaw or Chuck Person (Twitter links). Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game says (via Twitter) that Jackson is not in the picture, however.
- Jerry Sloan: Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld heard from one league source earlier this week that Sloan would be the Lakers' coach by December 1st. Jeff McDonald of San Antonio Express-News questions whether Sloan would be the best fit for a job that involves working in Los Angeles and coaching Dwight Howard (Twitter links). Bucher adds in a tweet that he can't see Sloan and Jim Buss co-existing.
- Nate McMillan: Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News suggests (via Twitter) that McMillan may be the best free agent coach available. Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun notes that, last we heard, McMillan was happy not coaching (Twitter link), but McMillan may have changed that stance recently, as Marc J. Spears tweets that the former Blazers coach is open to an NBA job. The Lakers haven't contacted him though, says Spears.