SMU's Brown to the Lakers: How will it Shake up the Odds?

Jason Lake

Friday, June 6, 2014 8:35 PM UTC

Friday, Jun. 6, 2014 8:35 PM UTC

You’d think that Larry Brown would have had enough of the NBA by now, but the SMU Tigers, who smashed the basketball odds last year, could end up losing their head coach to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Here we go, again. The Larry Brown Carousel is warming up; according to ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers have included Brown in their search for a new head coach. The 73-year-old Brown is one of several candidates, so there’s a very good chance that he stays at Southern Methodist after leading the Tigers to 27 wins, and a healthy profit at 20-13 against the NCAAB lines. Brown does have a history of wandering, however.

Once upon a time, Brown was a pretty good player himself. He played point guard at North Carolina under both Frank McGuire and Dean Smith, but at 5-foot-9, Brown was considered too small to play in the NBA. So he went to the ABA, where he was named an All-Star in each of his first three seasons. Brown ended up playing for five different ABA teams in his five years as a pro. That was just an appetizer.

Brown got his first head coaching gig at Davidson in 1969, but he resigned before the season started. He’d make his coaching debut with the ABA’s Carolina Cougars in 1972, then spend the next 20 years bouncing back, and forth, between the pros, and college. His NCAA stops included two years at UCLA, and five years at Kansas, where he led Danny Manning, and the Jayhawks to the National Championship in 1988. Brown used that championship as a springboard toward a lengthy term as an NBA coach, but not without its share of frequent flyer miles – Brown wound up coaching seven different teams after leaving Kansas, finally winning the NBA title in 2004 with the Detroit Pistons, but by the time Brown was done with the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010, it looked like his time was up. So he went to SMU, and nearly got them into the Tournament this spring for the first time since 1993.

Being Ulric Maligi 
If Brown does end up in Los Angeles, it’ll be a crushing blow for the Tigers. They’re expected to make the leap this year; Bovada has them priced at 33-1 on their March Madness futures market, up with the likes of Syracuse and Michigan. There could be plenty of value in those basketball odds, too.

SMU has one of the best recruits in the nation in 6-foot-5 point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, the No. 2-ranked overall prospect at Mudiay will have a chance to learn under Brown in a relatively low-pressure situation with the Tigers returning their core players from last year’s squad.At least the Tigers won’t be totally hosed if Brown leaves. His assistant, Ulric Maligi, has been very active on the recruiting trail, playing a big role in bringing Mudiay to Dallas. Maligi was also instrumental in landing JUCO transfer Yanick Moreira (19.6 PER) and former McDonald’s All-American Keith Frazier (13.6 PER). A head coaching job should be in his near-to-intermediate future no matter what happens with Brown.

Rags to Riches
The Lakers have been busy chatting up other coaches to replace Mike D’Antoni; earlier reports had them courting Kevin Ollie and John Calipari, although Calipari now says he hasn’t been contacted by anyone in the NBA. As for OIlie, he just signed a new five-year deal at nearly $3 million a year with the Connecticut Huskies after leading them to the National Championship.You can scratch another potential name off the list.

The Virginia Cavaliers announced Tuesday that Tony Bennett was inked to a seven-year deal at nearly $2 million a year, up from $1.7 million. Bennett was named ACC Coach of the Year after leading the Cavs to 30 wins (20-11-2 ATS) and their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1995. Virginia is tied with SMU at 33-1 to win the next Tournament.

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