Lost in the controversy surrounding all of the Chris Paul and Dwight Howard trade rumors was the fact that the Lakers were actually practicing and preparing for the 2011-12 season. Mike Brown is entering his first year as the head coach of the Lakers after five seasons as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and has undoubtedly dived head first into the year-around soap opera that is the Los Angeles Lakers.
Brown has attempted to keep a level head as he tries to prepare his team for the start of the season on Christmas Day, while also having to navigate through constant speculation surrounding who may and may not be on his roster when that day arrives:
The thing about the NBA, any sport really, and life in general is you have to anticipate that there are going to be changes because nothing is forever and ever. As a coach that’s part of the reason why I get paid, its part of my job description is to be able to make adjustments if need be, and right now we haven’t had to so we’ll just take it one day and one practice at a time.”
There definitely have been changes. Lamar Odom has been traded to the Dallas Mavericks for a first round pick and a trade exception. Kobe Bryant was very opinionated with his displeasure of the move. Brown was asked if all of the trade speculation has been a distraction for the team:
I don’t think it has. You’d have to ask the players if its been a distraction for them. If it has, then they’ve done a nice job of hiding it because when we’re on this court these guys get after it and that’s all I can say. I don’t even think about it when I’m on the court and I’m sure they don’t either, at least I cant tell if they don’t.”
Speaking of practice, Brown took a break from all of the trade speculation and did actually talk basketball. With a new offensive and defensive system in place it can be hard for players (particularly veteran players) to get rid of old habits that become second nature when you play in one system for a prolonged period of time. However, Brown says he’s seen very little of that thus far: