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LeBron James: Mike Brown Did Not Receive ‘Fair Shake’ In L.A.

The Los Angeles Lakers did not give fired coach Mike Brown a “fair shake,” according to LeBron James, who played under Brown with the Cleveland Cavaliers for five years.

“I think it’s unfortunate,” James said Friday after the Heat’s win in Atlanta against the Hawks. “I just don’t think he got a fair shake, honestly. With the shortened season last year, and five games into this year, he didn’t really get a full season.”

Fair shake or not, the Lakers move on with their search for a replacement, apparently centering on Phil Jackson and Mike D’Antoni, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com.

“It’s neck and neck,” the source said. The Lakers intend to call Jackson on Saturday to gauge his interest in returning to the sideline.

If the initial conversation with Jackson goes well, the Lakers are hoping to meet with him this weekend. While the Lakers have focused on Jackson, it would have to be a “philosophical match,” according to sources. Issues such as how much control over personnel decisions Jackson will want and whether he would travel to all games — issues that became problematic during Jackson’s last stint with the team — will surely be raised.

The Lakers also have made initial contact with D’Antoni’s agent, sources said. D’Antoni already is stumping for the job.

“If they offer it, I’d love it. It’d be a perfect fit,” D’Antoni told Fox Sports Southwest and DallasBasketball.com in the hours after Brown’s firing.

The Lakers would like to move quickly through this process, as interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff has committed to working only a few games.

Jackson is open to returning to the NBA sideline, multiple sources with knowledge of the Hall of Fame coach’s thinking told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told reporters Friday afternoon that the team’s brain trust — Kupchak along with Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss and executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss — already has put together a list of potential replacements for Bickerstaff. Among the “four or five” names on that short list is Jackson, according to a league source.

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