Blog Entry

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

Posted on: May 28, 2011 11:48 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 6:07 pm
Lakers VP Jim Buss admits that Kobe Bryant should have been consulted on the team's coaching search. Posted by Ben Golliver. kobe-bryant

It's not even June, and the Los Angeles Lakers are already making a mess out of their summer.

This week, the team hired Mike Brown to coach the team. It was a somewhat controversial hire but not an altogether terrible one. The messy part wasn't the result; it was the process and the aftermath. 

During the search process, Lakers owner Jerry Buss specifically said that no Lakers players would be consulted regarding the search. The Los Angeles Times quoted him to that effect.
"We really don't consult the players on these matters," Buss said. "Obviously, we have to select somebody who has a reputation that players would be happy with. But to ask a direct player to select a particular coach, that's general manager territory."
OK, fine, if that's your team policy, whatever. It's a strange policy to have when Kobe Bryant, one of the best and certainly the most headstrong player in the NBA is the face of your franchise, but if that's your policy, by all means go with it.

Of course, once Brown's hiring was announced, Bryant offered a "no comment" and was said to be "surprised" by the hire. Was Bryant a bit peeved by this slight? Of course. Anyone in his position would be.

The decision to select Brown as the Lakers next coach has been widely attributed to Jim Buss, Lakers VP and son of the owner. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times on Saturday, Jim Buss does a 180 degree flip less than one week after the hiring was announced, admitting that Bryant should have been consulted during the process.
"Looking back on it, we should have contacted Kobe," Buss says. "Kobe said it was management's job to pick a coach. He just said, 'Defense first.' That's what we were doing, but we should have reached out to him."
Yeah, of course the Lakers should have reached out to Bryant. The only reason not to do so was is if the Lakers firmly and truly believed in their "no players consulted" stance. If they did, there should not be any backtracking. If it's so important that it's black and white, there should be no gray area hedging after the fact. 

Just put yourself in Bryant's shoes. You've busted your butt for more than a decade. You've brought home five rings. You're entering the final chapter of your career. You've earned every last shred of respect a player can earn in the NBA. After all of that, you're then informed that you will be left out of the process. Once the process is completed, you're told that you should have been consulted. But the hiring has been completed, of course, and there's no going back. You're stuck with the guy that you weren't asked about, whether you like it or not.

If you're Bryant, how else do you read this situation except for butt-covering lip service? If Lakers management truly wanted to show respect, they could have reached out. If they truly didn't care, they have no reason to apologize or backtrack. If they don't know what they are doing or simply can't keep their story straight ... well, then they do what they just did. 

By admitting this mistake so quickly and readily, Jim Buss totally undercuts this management team's credibility and makes a bad situation even more complicated. No one wins here: Bryant feels disrespected, Brown walks into an unnecessarily tense scene without first having Bryant's support, Lakers management looks like it's on different pages, and Jim Buss looks either weak, inconsistent or indecisive. 

Like I said, what a mess.

Since: Dec 19, 2010
Posted on: May 29, 2011 1:37 am
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Since: May 16, 2007
Posted on: May 29, 2011 1:36 am

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

Nonsense. The only team in the league that can truly be disappointed by this kind of a season, coming off of yet another decade of dominance... And you're worried about whether he should have consulted or not mentioned that he should have consulted? And peeved... Bryant was holding press conferences to say how peeved he was with Kup before the last string of championship series appearances... So why does it matter now if Byrant is peeved and how is this situation suddenly a mess?

Since: Jul 22, 2007
Posted on: May 29, 2011 1:28 am

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

Lakers are done for the near future - anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if Kobe organizes the next LeBron/Wade/Bosh type move with 2 other superstars and goes somewhere else to compete. If not, Miami will win the next 5 titles.

Since: Sep 11, 2007
Posted on: May 29, 2011 1:26 am

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

Jim Buss is an idiot.  First he hires the wrong coach without consulting his star , then he backpedals and proclaims: "we should have consulted Kobe".  Owners should NOT be making game related decisions in ANY sport!  Dr. Buss and your village idiot son Jim leave the basketball decisions to Mitch Kupchak.

Since: Apr 20, 2007
Posted on: May 29, 2011 1:24 am

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

Boltnut, Gasol disappeared, no doubt but than again Bynum wasn't exactly graceful in his exit either.  Do you think the Lakers should think about getting him moved?  The kid is injured all the time anyway.

Since: May 19, 2010
Posted on: May 29, 2011 1:21 am

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

Me too!   Cry

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: May 29, 2011 1:17 am

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

"...these wannabes need to get their act together..."

WOW! Those are some strong words from a Cavs fan... especially to a team that won two straight NBA championships and was in a 3rd consecutive Finals. I'd hardly call the Lakers "wannabes" but rather "been there... done that's". The Lakers have had problems with team speed for a while and lost whatever they had in Farmar after last season to FA. The backcourt needs to be be shuffled, but I'd hardly call them a bust... after all they were the #2 seed in the West.

Also, calling out Lamar may be a bit rough. By all accounts, it was Pau Gasol who disappointed this year. Lamar actually played OK.

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: May 29, 2011 1:12 am

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

I totally agree that players shouldn't select the coach. I originally didn't have a problem with Buss' statement, but in hindsight, I'd say that the Lakers should have "reached out" to Kobe. Hard to imagine the Indy Colts picking their next coach without letting Peyton Manning know which direction they were going in or the Bulls not letting MJ know if they were making a coaching change. "Reaching out" is different than "consulting" with a player. Before you make a major PR announcement, wouldn't it have been nice to have Kobe come out and say something more than "no comment" because he had to find out about the news from ESPN or a reporter? (Since ESPN is now broadcasting in LA, this may be the same thing. LOL)  Smart management would have called Kobe and let him know of the decision.

Since: Mar 17, 2011
Posted on: May 29, 2011 12:56 am

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

Kobe will be alright and I don't see why he should have been consulted. Kobe is under contract and he has a job just like the rest of management. Did Mitch Kupchak tell Buss that he should have selected the coach because he's the GM? Whatever the managerial protocol is for the Lakers, Buss was entirely within his bounds to select the coach that he desired. After the disappointing playoff season that he and the rest of his Hollywood cast had (especially against the Mavs after barely beating an average New Orleans team), these wannabes need to get their act together and concentrate on playing the type of basketball that equates to the huge salaries they pull him. Yeah, Lamar! Hear that!?

Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: May 29, 2011 12:45 am

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

Im more disappointed that he backtracked and said he should have consulted with Kobe. Jerry Buss made the correct statement earlier. These are GM and Owner decisions. Even if they DID consult with Kobe, that would also be the wrong message to send that a player is picking the coach.

Besides, they knew already who Kobe wanted because he said Shaw in earlier interviews. I also believe that this is an answer that all the Lakers HAVE to give since Shaw is their long time co-player and coach. Any other answer might cause friendship problems. It is better that Kobe and other players be removed from this matter because emotion is going to drive them to Shaw.  Even if they thought Shaw might not be the best they would have to say so.

If I was Kobe and didnt want Shaw to know I felt he may not be the right fit, I would welcome the way the media is driving this story now. He gets to say, man, I was in your corner. But in turn he gets a more qualified defensive coach. One that will finally preach contesting every shot. one who will finally help us to defend the pick and roll. If Shaw could have brought that, he would have before. He was the lead assistant I believe.

I am sure that as long as Brown brings his defensive expertise and consults with Kobe on the offensive end, everything will work out fine. As long as Kobe gets his touches he will be cool. We all know that.

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