Brown: It’s still Kobe’s team

Mike Brown covered a lot of ground today in his first press conference as the Lakers’ new coach. He said he met with Kobe Bryant after they talked on the phone and swapped text messages last week. Brown said he anticipated no conflict with Bryant.

“This is still his team,” Brown said. “Kobe is Kobe. He has five titles and is one of the great ever. His role will not change. We’ll make sure he’ll have the ball in the sweet spots he likes to have it. He has a great understanding of my vision and he’s on board.”

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak also had no concerns about a clash.

“I think that it’s incredibly important to have a really solid relationship with your best player,” Kupchak said. “I think (Brown) is about winning and Kobe is about winning. If we win, I don’t think there’s going to be a problem.”

Bryant was not consulted on Brown’s hiring and had campaigned publicly for the Lakers to hire longtime assistant coach Brian Shaw as Phil Jackson’s replacement. Brown was hired over Shaw and former Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman.

Brown showed he had a firm grasp of the Lakers’ culture when he said: “We don’t play for second here, simple as that. I’m excited about this roster. I still believe this core group of guys can go get it done. Now it’s up to us to go do it.”

Bryant did not attend the press conference and has not commented publicly.

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