The Los Angeles Lakers reached an agreement in principle with former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown to be the successor to Phil Jackson, who is retiring after winning five of his record 11 National Basketball Association titles with the Lakers.
“We’ve met with Mike and are very impressed with him,” the Lakers said in a statement on their website last night. “We have an outline for an agreement in place and hope to sign a contract within the next few days.”
Brown, 41, agreed in principle to a four-year contract with the Lakers worth $18.25 million, ESPN reported, citing unidentified league sources.
Brown was fired by the Cavaliers on May 24, 2010, after recording a 272-138 record in five seasons with a team that was built around LeBron James. He guided Cleveland to the 2007 NBA Finals and was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year after the 2008-09 season. Brown emerged as the leading candidate after an interview with Lakers executives over the weekend, ESPN said.
Brown, who has been working as an NBA analyst for ESPN since he left Cleveland, would be the 22nd Lakers coach.
In Jackson’s 11 seasons in Los Angeles, the Lakers had a 610-292 record and never missed the postseason. Los Angeles ranks second in NBA history to Boston with 16 championships and has missed the playoffs five times in 63 years.
Brown started his NBA career in 2000 as an assistant to Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. He’s regarded as a defensive specialist and his Cleveland teams ranked among the league’s top 10 in points allowed in all five of his seasons. The Cavaliers allowed a league-low 91.4 points in 2008-09.
Brown was fired last year after the Cavaliers became the first team in league history to post consecutive 60-win seasons and fail to reach the NBA Finals.
Lakers assistant Brian Shaw and ex-Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman were also candidates to succeed Jackson, ESPN said.