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: Jul 6, 2009
Posted on: May 29, 2011 5:24 pm

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

   Given the state of the Lakers, Their recent history and the part that Kobe plays in it, - he should have most certainly been called into the discussions of hiring a new coach.
    If Kobe lets this slide and doesn't respond by sandbaggin the whole deal, my respect for him will grow.
    It was a slap in his face to neglect him. 

Since: May 11, 2007
Posted on: May 29, 2011 5:07 pm

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

I know I`m the owner, and you(Kobe) are one of MY employees, but is it ok if I hire Mike Brown to coach MY team? What a joke...

Since: Jan 30, 2009
Posted on: May 29, 2011 5:00 pm

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

You know, I agree with everything Buss said.  Kobe should have been contacted.  He should not have been consulted.  Employees have no business demanding to be consulted about managerial positions.  Is it ok to ask them?  Sure, but it's far from mandatory.  Would this be an issue with any other player?  I can guarantee you the greatest player of our generation, Tim Duncan, would make nary a peep complaining if the Spurs hired a new coach.  Sure, respect the guy on the way out but welcome the new guy.  You're a professional, you're supposed to be an adult and a leader, so act like it Kobe.

Since: Jun 13, 2007
Posted on: May 29, 2011 4:56 pm

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

Jim Buss is in a bad situation: damned if you do, damned if you don't.  As for hiring Mike Brown w/o consulting KB8/KB24, I think JB is responding to all the backlash that is flying over the airwaves from fans, "experts" and op-eds.  He probably should have stayed the course and kept quiet, but for some reason, he decides to talk about it.  JB could be covering for Mike Brown, a person who does not deserve all the critical insults he is receiving.  Remember, allegedly, Chicago Bulls management hired Phil Jackson and fired Doug Collins w/o consulting with Michael Jordan.  I remember clearly that it was not a popular hire/fire at the time with the Bulls fans.  In the long run, the move worked out with some success.  I don't know how Mike Brown will fare as the Laker's coach, but if the Lakers and their fans believe that there is no coach for Bryant other than Phil Jackson, the other players didn't show it when the sesason ended with a series of ejections culminating with an embarrassing sweep to the Dallas Mavericks.  The Lakers could have followed what the Celtics did 45 years ago:  when Red Auerbach retired, they decided Bill Russell could coach the team and the C's won two more titles. If this situation is Armageddon and it is as cataclysmic as we are led to believe, the Lakers should just raise ticket prices and broadcast fees and buy out Mike Brown's contract.  Actually, the Laker fans should kick in a bunch of cash also because they are the one's who are upset about the deal.  In college, the boosters are more than happy to eat an unpopular coach's contract for the school.  Fans should show the same loyalty.

Bless you Mike Brown.  All you did was interview for the job and did not ask for all the stench being dropped at your feet.

Since: Jan 31, 2011
Posted on: May 29, 2011 4:49 pm

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

who cares what kobe-me thinks.

Since: Apr 19, 2009
Posted on: May 29, 2011 4:06 pm

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

Is Buss losing it? First he says picking a coach is the GM and ownerships decision, not a players. Now he says Bryant should have been consulted. Make up your mind Jerry. I mean if Kobe should be consulted why not a Odom or Gasol? Why not a 10, 20 or 30 year season ticket buyer? It seems to me that the Lakers rushed on hiring a coach. The Lakers could have had just about anybody they wanted to caoch and they pick Mike Brown. I don't anything about Mike Brown and maybe he's a perfect pick but if Buss is now saying Kobe should have been consulted something must have happened. Did Kobe make it be known he's unhappy with the selection? Seems odd.

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: May 29, 2011 3:35 pm

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

Have you been one of the best 2 or 3 at your job IN THE WORLD for more than the last decade?  Are you the face of your business?  Just asking, because it seems like you are comparing yourself to Kobe Bryant and questioning his rights and credentials...

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: May 29, 2011 3:32 pm

Contacted is not consulted

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach
This might be a misread, Ben. Contacted is not the same word as consulted. Contacted means reaching out to him before the hire was made public to inform and encourage him to be supportive, nothing more. This is the word (contacted) that Jim Buss used.

It is the height of folly to ask players to select the coach. Talk about undermining the new coach from the start. Koby may have one to three more years in the league. Coach Brown is expected to be with the Lakers longer (4th year option). Mike Brown knows how to work with egoistic stars and will make this issue go away quickly. He is the best hire the team could make. I think Koby will be fine with him.

So the policy of not consulting the players may still be intact. But by all means contact them, not just Kobe, to inform them of a major news and impact on the team. That is common courtesy. This eliminates the surprise and the awkwardness.

Since: May 4, 2008
Posted on: May 29, 2011 3:26 pm

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

I agree but its not that damn big of a deal...Kpbe is a professional, a winner and Im absolutely sure he wont let this get in the way of trying to get ONE more. I think this crap is more for the media than Kobe. Hell, the huge mess is them losing...not Kobe wasn't consulted on the next coach. Brown come n and be do the job as a coach, Kobe will be happy if not Kobe, will have an be it!!! Lets get it together Lakers for one more run!!!!!

Since: May 22, 2008
Posted on: May 29, 2011 3:02 pm

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

In the real world smart owners consult with employess over moves that drastcially effect the company Kobe has 5 rings that desreves a phone call to say what do you think at the least

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