That was quick.
USA TODAY’s Sam Amick reports Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown was fired Friday. Additionally, ESPN and Yahoo! Sports confirmed the news.
Brown was just five games into his second season as Lakers coach. The team is just 1-4, fresh off the acquisitions of super-center Dwight Howard and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash. The additions looked great on paper and many NBA scribes expected the Lakers to instantly land in the NBA Finals.
But so far, it’s been a bumpy ride.
It’s still early and, to be fair, the Miami Heat were just 10-8 through their first 18 games after adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2010.
Last year, the Lakers finished 41-25, which was good enough for first in the Pacific Division. The playoffs were a different story — the Oklahoma City Thunder sent the Lakers home packing in the conference semifinals.
To make matters worse, this week reports surfaced of disturbing death threats on Twitter directed at Mike Brown’s son for the team’s poor start.
According to USA Today, Mike Brown’s teen son Elijah, who plays basketball at LA high school Mater Dei, received several threatening messages on the social media site.
Other messages have been more benign but still insulting like “UR dad is the dumbest dude” and “does your grandma regret having your dad?”
“That’s the tough part about this business,” Mike Brown told reporters Thursday. “To go after somebody’s family or something like that is, in my opinion, just ridiculous. It’s stupid, crazy, whatever you want to call it.”
For his part, Elijah Brown is taking the high road and doesn’t appear to be shaken up by the nasty attacks.
“Amazed by the changes of tweets I see about the Lakers after they win now LOL,” he wrote after the Lakers got their first win on Monday.
The Lakers have issued a press release announcing Brown’s firing:
EL SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles Lakers have relieved Mike Brown of his head coaching duties, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.
Assistant Coach Bernie Bickerstaff will take over as interim head coach for tonight’s game against the Golden State Warriors. A search for a new head coach will begin immediately.
“This was a difficult and painful decision to make,” said Kupchak. “Mike was very hard-working and dedicated, but we felt it was in the best interest of the team to make a change at this time. We appreciate Mike’s efforts and contributions and wish him and his family the best of luck.”
Follow theGrio’s Todd Johnson on Twitter @rantoddj