In a somewhat shocking turn of events, Rich Bucher, formerly of ESPN and now of Comcast Bay Area, is reporting that Magic Johnson convinced Jerry Buss that Mike Brown needed to be fired while Jim Buss remained faithful in Brown.
The abruptness and timing of the decision – five games into Brown’s first full season – was credited by one source to Lakers legend and former part-owner Magic Johnson finally winning "a turf war" with the younger Buss and convincing Lakers’ patriarch, Jerry Buss, that Brown must go. Johnson, the source said, would like to see former Laker and current Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw succeed Brown.
Johnson, an ESPN and ABC analyst, has been repeatedly critical of Brown and last year announced that Brown would be fired if the Lakers failed to get past the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. The Lakers won the best-of-seven series, 4-3, before losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the next round, 4-1, but Kupchak dismissed any validity to Johnson’s remarks.
A source close to Johnson, meanwhile, said talk of him being involved in Brown’s ouster now was "categorically untrue."
Bucher is a credible Laker source as far as I am concerned, and he used to work with Magic (albeit in different locations) as a part of ESPN's NBA coverage, which leads me to believe there is at least some fire where this smoke is coming from.
If this is true, it's interesting that Magic still caries clout with Jerry Buss. As the team moves closer and closer to hiring Phil Jackson, this will become an irrelevant story, but I think it was at least worth mentioning.