Lakers Coach Mike Brown. (Associated Press )
Friday was a significant day for the Lakers as they fired Coach Mike Brown after the team's 1-4 start.
The team gathered for their typical game-day shoot around but before practice began, General Manager Mitch Kupchak broke the news first to Brown, then to his players.
Word would quickly spread but by the time the media arrived at the team's El Segundo practice facility, the only player yet to leave was Pau Gasol.
Gasol spoke candidly, calling the Mike Brown firing a 'direct message to all of us'.
As the team readied for an impromptu, formal press conference, they also released a statement from their former-head coach.
"I have great respect for the Buss family and the Lakers’ storied tradition and I thank them for the opportunity they afforded me," said Brown. "I have a deep appreciation for the coaches and players that I worked with this past year and I wish the organization nothing but success as they move forward."
Assistant Bernie Bickerstaff was named interim-head coach, at least for the night.
The Lakers didn't find time to release a statement until 6:00PM, hours after Kupchak's press conference. Suffice it to say, it was a complicated day for all parties involved.
“This was a difficult and painful decision to make,” said Kupchak in the statement. “Mike was very hard-working and dedicated, but we felt it was in the best interest of the team to make a change at this time. We appreciate Mike’s efforts and contributions and wish him and his family the best of luck.”
Bickerstaff met with the media expressing some regret that Brown was let go.
"This guy, he's strong," said Bickerstaff. "He was always very positive. He worked hard and he had great focus."
"He's a very positive young man," continued Bickerstaff. "He's a very great coach, and what a terrific human being, and those are the things that are important in life."
As far as his role as head coach, albeit in a temporary capacity?
"Try to win the game and have fun," said Bickerstaff.
That was his message to the players and they responded, handily.
After the game Kobe Bryant spoke affectionately about former Coach Phil Jackson.
The Lakers have already begun looking for a replacement for Brown. The players will have Saturday off.
Bickerstaff will probably coach his second game Sunday night against the Sacramento Kings, unless the team finds a more permanent solution by then.
If this was Bickerstaff's lone game as head coach, he'll go down with a perfect winning record of 1-0.
Lakers top Warriors, 101-77, in first game without Mike Brown
Mitch Kupchak addresses the firing of Mike Brown
Pau Gasol calls Mike Brown firing a 'direct message to all of us'
You can email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.