Mike Brown has been fired and it's time for the Los Angeles Lakers to find a new coach.
Er...correction. It's time for general manager Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jerry Buss to sit down with star guard Kobe Bryant and see who HE thinks would be the best coach for the team. Translation: "Hey, Kobe, who should we hire just so that you can completely ignore them and let them handle the other guys?"
The sad truth is that while he's one of the most popular players among fans, Bryant's ego is probably bigger than Mt. Everest. Keep in mind, here is a man who broke up one of the most deadly player tandems in NBA history when Shaquille O'Neal demanded a trade out of town back in 2004.
That said, given how he's a five-time champion, a 14-time All Star and one of the best overall players in NBA history, it would be just plain silly for the Lakers to try and hire a coach who would actually dare try and, well, coach Bryant. The man has been in the league long enough and has accomplished so much that he's reached the level where any coach he has should just let him play.
The new guy should just let Kobe do what he does best and take advice from the veteran Laker as needed.
Naturally, this immediately takes two candidates out of the coaching search: Phil Jackson and his highly structured triangle offense, and the pick-and-roll happy Mike D'Antoni, who rarely ventures away from that offense and doesn't seem to believe in defense.
Instead, team management should look to hire someone that Bryant can "control," for lack of a better word. Someone who will just let him play and coach the others as necessary. Not necessarily a player's coach, but more someone who isn't married to a certain system and is OK with letting his players play.
Simply put, the next Lakers coach is signing up for not one, but two jobs. He will not only coach the team, but will also essentially be Kobe Bryant's lackey. He may be the one manning the sidelines and shouting orders at the players, but we all know it's Bryant that will be in control.
Thus, be it Flip Saunders, Brian Shaw, Jerry Sloan or even Nate McMillan, there is one thing in Laker-land that isn't going to change; no matter who team management hires as head coach, it's still going to be Kobe Bryant who's in control.
The man basically forced Shaq out of town and has the front office in his pocket. When it comes to picking the new coach, it's a near-certainty that he will be sought out for approval just so that he can hog the ball like he usually does.
Hopefully a miracle will occur and the new coach will still be able to lead the team to a championship.