Mike Brown appreciates front office support

The last 24 hours have remained anything but magic. Aside from preparing the Lakers for their Game 7 on Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets, Lakers Coach Mike Brown also had to handle Magic Johnson suggesting he should be fired if the Lakers fall in the first round.

It’s one thing for a columnist to call for that. It’s quite another for a Laker legend who still retains a vice president’s role with the organization. But he at least has the comfort to know that the front office made it clear in a statement that they remain “fully committed to and supportive of Mike Brown as head coach of the Lakers.”

“Anytime anybody gives you support, you like it,” Brown said before the Game 7. “But it wasn’t necessary. There’s so many people out there that are going to say things or stuff like that. To try to fight that every time, I know, for me, is impossible for me to do.”

Still, there were a few parties that lended their support. The Lakers’ statement read that Johnson’s comments “were not made on behalf of the Los Angeles Lakers, and in no way do they reflect the feelings or position of team ownership or management.”

Meanwhile, Denver Coach George Karl strongly criticized Johnson’s commentary.


“I love Magic and I think he’s been a tremendous ambassador for the game,” Karl said. “But I think the statement is out of control. It was totally out of control. Mike Brown is a good coach. He had a solid to good year. Giving that statement is wild and crazy and ESPNish. I think he has another year on his contract for that comment.”

That sparked Karl into a tirade on how ESPN often pressures analysts, including himself at one point, to “be outlandish, be outlandish, be outlandish.” Karl even joked to’s J.A. Adande, a frequent guest on “Around the Horn,” that “they’re probably putting a little heat on you because you’re a little too mellow.”

Brown conceded Johnson’s statements “could be a distraction possibly,” but the first-year Lakers coach downplayed any concern about his job security even before the Lakers and Karl publicly defended him. The Lakers’ front office has publicly praised Brown’s performance as head coach this season. Brown, who makes an average of $4.5 million a year, has two more guaranteed years followed by a team option.

“Magic is a great guy,” Brown said. “If that’s how he feels about me, great. If that’s how he feels about my performance as a coach, I’m not going to try to sit here and fight him on it. He’s entitled to his opinion. That’s his opinion. I’m happy for him.”

That’s not the only opinion Johnson shared. He also advocated that the Lakers get rid of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, two players that have earned public criticism both from Brown and Kobe Bryant for their poor effort in Games 5 and 6. Yet, Brown said he found no need to address that with his players.

“Just because Magic Johnson says something,” Brown said, “I’m not going to run and talk to everybody that he talks to. He’s a great player. I don’t know him very well, but he seems like a great guy. ESPN pays him a lot of money to give his opinion. He gave his opinion. That’s great. We’re all big boys here. We’ll survive. I’ll survive. Just because he said that, I’ll still go home to my wife and kids.”


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Mike Brown appreciates front office support