The Los Angeles Lakers are searching for a new head coach after parting company with Mike Brown.
The 17-time NBA champions made the decision in the wake of their poor start to the season which had seen them lose four of their five first matches.
Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff has been placed in temporary charge, with general manager Mitch Kupchak saying of Brown: “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."
Brown replaced Phil Jackson as Lakers’ head coach for the 2011-12 season and guided the team to a 41-25 regular-season record. They edged past Denver Nuggets in the first round of the play-offs before losing out to Oklahoma City Thunder in the Conference semi-finals.
As well as making their worst start to a regular season since 1993, the Lakers had also lost all eight of their pre-season exhibition games, despite adding two high-profile All-Star players – Dwight Howard and Steve Nash – to their roster in the summer and punters who bet on NBA had predicted further woe unless changes were made at the top.
However, Nash has only played in two games so far this season after sustaining a small fracture in his left leg, while Howard, who moved to the Lakers from Orlando Magic, is struggling to rediscover his best form after undergoing back surgery in April.
As yet there has been no news as to who may replace Brown, but a few names have appeared in NBA rumours reports, including Indiana Pacers head coach and former Laker Brian Shaw, Phoenix Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni and Mike Fratello, the ex-Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Memphis Grizzlies coach who is now in charge of the Ukraine national basketball team.