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Lakers fire coach Mike Brown


Mike Brown, Kobe Bryant


The Los Angeles Lakers have fired coach Mike Brown after a 1-4 start, according to reports byUSA Today and ESPNLA.com.

Brown’s agent, Warren LeGarie, told USA TODAY Sports Brown is gone. Source close to situation confirms too.

Yahoo! Sports also reported the decision, noting that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was hoping for a more patient approach.

Mike Brown has been fired as Lakers coach. Within past 24 hours, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak had pushed ownership to give Mike Brown more time before firing him.

As Lakers ownership has been considering firing of Brown, Mike D’Antoni has been a prominent name discussed as replacement

The Los Angeles Times reported that assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will coach the Lakers on Friday night, when they host the Golden State Warriors at the Staples Center, and that a coaching search will commence from there.

That report comes just hours after ESPN.com reported Brown’s job status hung on the Lakers’ performance during an upcoming 6-game home stand and just two days after Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss openly questioned whether Brown’s system was “flawed” and appeared to lay the groundwork for a possible coaching change. The Lakers are in the midst of their worst start since 1993-1994.

“Feel bad for Coach Mike Brown, who’s a great guy, but don’t think he was the right guy for the job in the first place,” Lakers legend Magic Johnson tweeted on Friday.

“I have no problems with Mike Brown at all,” Buss said on Wednesday. “He just works too hard and he’s too knowledgeable for this to be happening. So either the system is flawed or something’s going on. Or, like the Triangle, it’s very hard to pick up and understand. I’m not a basketball mind like he is or the players are, and the players are fine with it, so I just have to be patient.”

Star guard Kobe Bryant told the Los Angeles Times Thursday that he stood by his coach.

“I’ve been his biggest supporter,” Bryant said of Brown. “I’m really too old to be dealing with childish things.”

Last week, Bryant told Lakers critics to “shut up,” saying that it was his job to tamp down the public criticism because he, like former Lakers coach Phil Jackson but unlike Brown, is an NBA champion.

“The critics are more likely to take runs at him [Brown] than they would at Phil Jackson,” Bryant said. “ I’ve won, so I can [call for silence. Mike, it would be a little tougher for him to say that. So I’ll say it for him: Everybody shut up. Let us work.”

Star center Dwight Howard, acquired in a summer trade from the Orlando Magic, had also preached patience.

“We’ll get better with time,” Howard said last week. “L.A. wasn’t built in a day. … We need to stay patient. We need all of our fans to stay patient with us. This is a process. Dynasties weren’t built in a day.”

The Lakers, despite entering the season with four potential All-Stars in their starting lineup and a $100 million payroll, currently possess the worst record in the Western Conference. Brown’s decision to implement a Princeton offense and the Lakers’ porous defense, ranked No. 22 in the league, apparently caught up to him. It’s been a nightmare start all-around for the Lakers, who also lost starting point guard Steve Nash to a non-displaced fracture in his fibula in the team’s second game of the season.

Brown, 42, signed a four-year contract worth a reported $18.25 million in May 2011. The Lakers held a team option on the last season, so Brown will be paid salary for the remainder of this season and 2013-14. He holds a career record of 314-167 in seven years with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Lakers.

In addition to D’Antoni, who abruptly resigned as coach of the New York Knicks last season, a number of well-regarded coaches are currently available, including Jackson, former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan. CBSSports.com reports that former Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw, now an Indiana Pacers assistant coach, could be a candidate.