The Los Angeles Lakers fired head coach Mike Brown after just five games on Friday, and the embattled head coach released a statement through the team.
"I have great respect for the Buss family and the Lakers’ storied tradition and I thank them for the opportunity they afforded me," Brown said in a statement released by the Lakers, per Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. "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."
Brown was 42-29 (.592) with the Lakers, and still has nearly three years remaining on his four-year, $18 million contract that he signed before the 2011-2012 campaign.
Power forward Pau Gasol spoke after morning practice on Friday and said that the players never lost belief in Brown, and Mike Trudell of NBA.com reported that Brown's firing "is a "pretty direct message" the players need to step it up."