Fresh off three straight road defeats, the Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight at Staples Center and a familiar face will be on the other bench: former head coach Mike Brown.
Brown was fired after just five games last season after going 1-4 after a 41-25 inaugural season in the 2011-12 lockout season. Tonight will mark the first time facing the Lakers and he told Dave McMeniman of ESPNLA.com he was appreciative of his time in LA:
“I appreciate the opportunity,” Brown said. “I enjoyed it here. But in terms of me still wanting to be here, I’m happy being a Cavalier. I want to be a Cavalier and I’m looking forward to growing with these young guys and this organization hopefully for many years.”
After former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson retired, Brown signed a four-year, $18 million contract, but was replaced by assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff before Mike D’Antoni became the new head coach.
Along with Brown, former Lakers forward Earl Clark will make his first return trip to Staples Center tonight after signing a two-year, $9 million contract with the Cavaliers last off-season. Acquired in the trade for Dwight Howard, the 25-year-old forward was a nice surprise for the Lakers last season, averaging 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 59 games last season.
Still, the story will be Brown, who many believe got a raw deal with the Lakers after Steve Nash went down in the second game of last season with a broken leg. Not to mention assistant coach Eddie Jordan was brought on board to install the Princeton offense, which was tough to watch during the preseason and five games of the regular season.
It’ll be interesting to hear how the crowd responds to Brown’s introduction as head coach of the Cavaliers as many didn’t want him coaching the Lakers in the first place.
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