- Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Freshly hired Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown showed up to the Lakers' practice facility Thursday for the NBA draft admittedly more as a spectator than a participant. He watched the draft in his office, ate pizza with his son and checked in from time to time while members of the Lakers' front office monitored draft activity in an adjacent conference room.
Dressed casually in a polo shirt, yellow athletic shorts and sneakers, Brown projected just as relaxed a stance when asked about the fact that Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant has yet to comment publicly on Brown's getting the job.
"I'm more than OK with it," Brown said of Bryant's near month-long silence since Brown was hired in late May.
Although Bryant has not let his opinion of Brown be known through the media yet, the new coach and the 15-year veteran have already had several phone calls and two face-to-face meetings together.
"I felt good about it," Brown said of his second meeting with Bryant at the Lakers' practice facility several weeks ago when the pair went over Brown's coaching philosophies on the court. "From my perspective [it went well]. ... We talked a little offense, talked a little defense, we talked about each other's families. ... Just basic stuff."
Brown said he has also spent time getting to know the rest of the Lakers players in the short time he's been on the job since taking over for retired coach Phil Jackson.
"I've had one-on-one time with quite a few guys," Brown said. "It's been good. I've been able to either talk to them on the phone or sit down face-to-face with those guys. ... It's been a nice transition.
"For the most part we've been trying to get to know one another. I think that's the biggest thing. I don't know any of these guys real well and they don't know me real well, neither. So, we've been laying down that foundation and respect down for one another and trying to build from there."
The coach has some extra motivation to try to establish relationships as quickly as possible. If the league is locked out come July 1 when the current collective bargaining agreement expires, Brown will not be allowed to have any contact with the players on the Lakers' roster until the labor dispute is resolved.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
3hMichael C. Wright