It’s been a great summer for Mike Brown and the Los Angeles Lakers. Just think, about five months ago, the Lakers were exiting the playoffs after a loss against the Thunder thinking that maybe their time had past. Instead, Los Angeles spent the summer re-tooling their roster and added Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Antawn Jamison among others. The moves made this offseason were very risky and LA certainly paid a price to try to extend their championship window. It was the right move though.
The Lakers went from playoff contenders to championship contenders this offseason and while it needs to be proven on the court, they have the best chance to dethrone Oklahoma City out West. Mike Brown joined ESPN 1100 in Las Vegas with Steve Cofield and Dave Cokin to talk about how his summer has been going, on the acquisition of Dwight Howard, on super-teams being able to supplant their egos, on the pressure to win in Los Angeles and on Dwight Howard’s workouts and how soon he will be ready.
On the summer:
“Great. I had Santa Claus or Santa Clauses in terms of Mitch Kupchak, Dr. Buss and Jim Buss, I call those guys my Santa Clauses and they delivered great Christmas gifts for me even though it was hot as heck out here and I couldn’t ask for a better Summer.”
On the acquisition of Dwight Howard:
“I loved Andrew Bynum. I thought Andrew Bynum was great for us, he was a young guy that was up and coming and you hate to see him go but if you can get a guy in his prime already that has already been there and done that kind of like what we got in Dwight, you couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m not involved in most of the trades and things like that. They’ll come and ask me my opinion a lot of times before it happens, but the biggest thing for me was knowing we were able to acquire Dwight without giving up Pau (Gasol). I think Pau is a special human being first of all and on top of that he is a great player so he’s a big cornerpiece for this organization hopefully for years to come.”
How important it is for the super-teams to have all of their players buying in:
“Just off the top of my head I think there were three teams that you could kind of put in that category. The first being when Gary Payton and Karl Malone came to the Lakers. That was when Shaq and Kobe were still in their prime. You talk about two future Hall-Of-Famers in Payton and Malone who still had a little something left but were towards the end of their career. Then you talk about Shaq and Kobe in their prime with a very good supporting cast around them. They didn’t get it done the first year and Miami didn’t get it done the first year and nobody really knows because only the people in that locker room really know why or what happened or what didn’t happen in terms of them not being able to get it done but Boston was a unique team. They were a team that came together rather quickly and got the job done. I think it can happen but you have to, as a group, respect the process and if you do respect the process as well as your teammates and the journey then you will give yourself a better chance.”
Whether he enjoys the media scrutiny he has been under as Lakers Head Coach:
“I like it from the standpoint that Dr. Buss and Jim Buss as well as Mitch Kupchak have created a culture of winning here so the fans, the media, sponsors and whatever, they expect nothing less and the great part about it is ownership expects nothing less. They’re always going to put a product on the floor or try to put a product on the floor that has a chance to compete for an NBA Championship and if that means that in people’s eyes that I am quote, unquote a rockstar then I will take that any day of the week or the year as opposed to sitting through a rebuild and going 5-87 or 5-95 or whatever it is.”
On Dwight Howard’s workouts and how soon he will be ready:
“Dwight is obviously a physical specimen. He’s a great guy, very charismatic but he’s been working his tail off with Darvin Ham and Chuck Person the last two or three weeks and he’s been having some contact with Darvin and Darvin has been hitting him pretty good. Darvin is no weak little guy either, he brings it. He’s been banging pretty good with big fella and Dwight has done a nice job, his body has done a nice job responding to the workouts they have gone through. Having said that there’s still no timetable on when he will get back but because of who he is and how hard he has been working there could be a chance that it may be sooner or later.”