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Report: Lakers’ Coach Mike Brown’s Job In Jeopardy

Despite receiving an endorsement from executive vice president Jim Buss, Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown needs his team to make an about-face from a terrible start to the season or he could be fired.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Lakers, while having publicly expressed support for Brown in the wake of a 1-4 start, are privately anxious about what they have seen – or not seen – of the team so far. The Lakers a six-game homestand against inferior competition. And should the team continue to struggle, it could be Brown’ undoing.

The homestand begins Friday night against the Golden State Warriors who’ll be without injured center Andrew Bogut and reserve Brandon Rush. The Lakers will also face Sacramento, San Antonio, Phoenix, Houston and Brooklyn.

In Brown’s defense, the Lakers have had a healthy Steve Nash in the lineup for only 1½ of their five games so far because of a leg injury. Dwight Howard continues to rec0ver from the back surgery and Kobe Bryant has also been playing through a foot ailment.

All that and still, according to ESPN.com’s source, the team’s hierarchy want to see vast improvement in a short period of time.

The Lakers are off to the worst start in the Western Conference despite carrying the league’s largest payroll at just over $100 million, which would trigger an estimated luxury-tax bill at season’s end of nearly $30 million.

“I have no problems with Mike Brown at all,” Buss said. “He just works too hard and he’s too knowledgeable for this to be happening.

“So either the (new Princeton offensive) system is flawed or something’s going on. Or, like the Triangle, it’s very hard to pick up and understand. I’m not a basketball mind like he is or the players are, and the players are fine with it, so I just have to be patient.”

The challenge there is that heading into the season, Buss acknowledged that “this team was built to win now,” raising questions as to how patient the Lakers are willing to be.

“You have to give it time to understand (what’s going on),” Buss said. “I don’t know if there’s an actual game total that would make me impatient. I know if we’re 1-15, I don’t think that would be very good. I’m sure that would be a panic button. But at this time, I’m fine with what’s going on. It’s a learning process for the players. As long as everybody is on the same page, I think we’re fine.”

After practice Thursday, Bryant admitted that he’s dismayed by the first 1-4 start in his 17-year career but labeled himself as Brown’s “biggest supporter” in the organization.

“For us, (belief is) the biggest thing right now, especially while we’re trying to find our way,” Brown said.

Said Howard: “Right now, there’s a lot of noise. We’re trying to figure out how to play with each other. We’re trying to figure out where we’re going to get our shots. Everybody is trying to just figure each other out and how we can put this thing together. So once the noise is settled, we can all just have a clear mind. We’ll be fine.”

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