Since he was announced as the new Lakers coach on June 1, Mike Brown has been traveling back and forth from Cleveland, preparing to move his family to Los Angeles, and tying up loose ends.
Among his primary tasks in the meantime? Building his coaching staff.
“There’s been progress,” said Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. “We communicate daily, and a lot of times he needs a quick answer. Sometimes it’s me giving him names of people who call me, sometimes he’ll call and say he’s thinking of interviewing a certain person. I do know that he intends to interview several candidates to be assistants in person in the next week.”
Since getting the gig, Brown has been contacted by what Kupchak estimated as around 100 coaches looking to be considered for his open coaching slots. Accordingly, Brown has filled two or three pages in a yellow pad full of names and phone numbers in advance of a decision Kupchak maintains will be very much Brown’s.
“I’m not going to have too much input unless there’s a red flag,” said L.A.’s GM.” Some of these people are under contract with other teams; because of all the coaching changes, some of these people have had chances to go someplace else. It’s kind of a revolving list. He’s pretty confident in what he wants, and he didn’t come into this (blind). He’s just working down the list.”
Kupchak said he’s aware that while the Lakers would like to think everybody would like to be an assistant coach with the Lakers, there are 29 other teams with competitive GM’s and owners, and that certain opportunities in other places have different parameters.
“Maybe Mike would consider someone for a second or third assistant job, but he may get a first assistant opportunity somewhere else,” Kupchak explained. “Maybe Mike wants this guy to be the offensive coach, but he prefers to be a defensive coach, and the money is the same. All of these things can be factors.”
One thing that will not impact who Brown brings onto his staff?
“With the Lakers, we have never had a problem getting people to work for us that we want to work for us when it involves money,” Kupchak concluded. “That’s never been a problem here.”