While Phil Jackson’s return to the Lakers bench seems to be all but a done deal, CSN Bay Area’s Ric Bucher quotes an unnamed source as claiming the person responsible for Mike Brown’s sudden firing was not Mitch Kupchak or Jim Buss (above, left), but rather a co-owner of another (baseball) franchise.
The abruptness and timing of the decision – five games into Brown’s first full season – was credited by one source to Lakers legend and former part-owner Magic Johnson finally winning “a turf war” with the younger Buss and convincing Lakers’ patriarch, Jerry Buss, that Brown must go. Johnson, the source said, would like to see former Laker and current Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw succeed Brown.
Johnson, an ESPN and ABC analyst, has been repeatedly critical of Brown and last year announced that Brown would be fired if the Lakers failed to get past the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. The Lakers won the best-of-seven series, 4-3, before losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the next round, 4-1, but Kupchak dismissed any validity to Johnson’s remarks.
A source close to Johnson, meanwhile, said talk of him being involved in Brown’s ouster now was “categorically untrue.”
I don’t know if it is fair to say Paul Westhead is unavailable for comment. But I certainly don’t have his telephone number.