Lakers Coach Mike Brown talks to center Andrew Bynum during a break in the… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
Lakers Coach Mike Brown and center Andrew Bynum have had some, uh, entertaining moments in their first season together.
Bynum hated it when Brown kissed him on the forehead after a late tip-in during a victory over Boston. Bynum also didn't like being yanked for his well-documented three-point attempt last month against Golden State.
But Brown said they were fine.
"Are we on good terms? I hope we've never been on bad terms," he said Friday. "I feel like we have a good coach-player relationship, a good person-to-person relationship. I feel like he's respectful to me. I hope he feels that I'm respectful to him."
Brown said he would give Bynum, 24, some room for error.
"I've got to let him grow some too," he said. "I've dealt with a lot of different types of people. I don't think you can take everything that one individual does and make a big deal out of it. People have to kind of find their own way at times. You can help them here or there and as long as it doesn't affect or hurt the team, then I'm OK with it.
"There's some stuff that he might have done or said but, hey, it's part of the growth process. Some things we've talked about, some things we haven't talked about. But definitely not everything that has come across his plate we've discussed."
Derek Fisher's departure undoubtedly left a vacuum in the Lakers' locker room, taking to Oklahoma City his 16 seasons of NBA wisdom, five championship rings and experienced off-court knowledge as players' union president.
The Lakers have tried to fill the leadership void by committee, an approach whose results won't be known until their last playoff game, whenever that happens.
"We have a lot of different guys stepping up and taking on the leadership role," Brown said. "It was one of the concerns obviously when Fish got let go, or traded. Different times it's different guys but obviously, Kobe [Bryant], Metta [World Peace] stepped up, [Ramon] Sessions, all of our guys, Pau [Gasol], have done it at one point or another to help lead this team in the right way."
The obvious one-word question: Metta?
"He's extremely engaged," Brown said, acknowledging the 13-year veteran's increased verbal participation on the court. "Metta's mind-set is he's locked in right now."
World Peace actually had a talk with Sessions and asked him to slow down the pace after the Lakers got blistered by Phoenix last Saturday, 125-105.
Sessions said he was asked to avoid a "rat race" and keep the big men involved.
"It's still a learning process but it's one of those things where I just pick my poison," Sessions said.