It hasn’t happened (yet?), according to Brown.
Sure, he and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak have talked. But, as Brown tells it, they’re just a couple former Dean Smith players keeping in touch and building on their University of North Carolina roots.
Larry Brown has been talking to Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, alright, but not as some sort of recruitment for the vacant coaching job.
“I’ve always kept in touch with Mitch; I admire the hell out of him,” the 73-year-old Brown told USA TODAY Sports by phone on Tuesday. “I talk to Mitch all the time. … (But) we’re not talking about coaching the Lakers. I’ve read some of the names. They’ve got a long list of good people to choose from, and I’m here at SMU. I want to win a national championship.”
“I’m just so thankful SMU gave me this chance,” Brown said. “We have made such progress. We’ve got a bunch of young kids already committed for the future and I’d love to finish it out here. … I’d love to see (the Lakers) get a great coach, because I love Mitch and I love that franchise. But I’m thrilled where I am. I feel so fortunate I’ve had this chance.”
“Not everybody would give an old man like me a chance to coach, so I’ve been pretty fortunate to have that opportunity here,” Brown said. “We’re moving forward (at SMU), so I’m OK.”
Notice how Brown never outright denies an interest in the Lakers job?
He can be thrilled where he is and thankful for his chance at SMU and moving forward at SMU – all while simultaneously wanting to coach the Lakers.
Brown is an excellent coach. He’s even better at navigating his way between jobs.
He knows what he’s doing here, and it’s possible his conversations with Kupchak turn more serious later. It’s unlikely Brown coaches the Lakers. Their search has been slow and wide.
But it’s likely Brown wants to return to the NBA at some point. I doubt he’d stop listening to inquiries just because he’s happy at SMU.