- (Photo: REUTERS)
Mike Brown was fired Friday as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers after a 1-4 start to the regular season.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and ownership made the "difficult" decision Friday morning. Kupchak called Brown a very hard-working man, but "the bottom line is that the team was not winning at the pace we expected this team to win, and we didn't see improvement," he said.
"Maybe it would have changed a month or three months down the road. But with this team, we didn't want to wait three months and then find out it wasn't going to change," he added.
Kupchak emphasized that the team this season "was built to contend."
While the Lakers search for a new head coach, Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will be taking over.
In a statement, Brown thanked the Buss family and the Lakers for the opportunity.
"I have a deep appreciation for the coaches and players that I worked with this past year and I wish the organization nothing but success as they move forward," said Brown.
Kobe Bryant, shooting guard for the Lakers, released a response on his Facebook page, saying "tough day."
"I've seen coaches as well as friends come and go. No matter how many years I've been playing, it's still hard to deal with," he wrote. "I had a good relationship with Mike and I will continue to have one. I wish him and his family nothing but the best. I spoke with him today and thanked him for all of his hard work and sacrifice.
"I'm not sure what direction we are heading in next. All I can do is focus on the here and now."
Brown coached the Cleveland Cavaliers before succeeding Phil Jackson as head coach of the Lakers in 2011.
The Lakers play against the Golden State Warriors (3-2) Friday night at 10:30 p.m. ET. Tonight's game is the start of six consecutive games at home.