During this past season it appeared that Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw would succeed Phil Jackson as the bench boss of the team once Jackson retired at the end of the campaign. Although he interviewed for the position, the Lakers decided they wanted an experienced hand guiding the team and hired former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown to replace Jackson.
Unfortunately though instead of receiving a message telling him he did not get the job from the team he had been with since 1999, Shaw says he found out the team’s decision like many others by seeing the news on TV. “ESPN.com” reported that Shaw told the hosts of a radio show he appeared on Friday that he first learned of the team’s decision when he saw Brown interviewed on ESPN during the Western Conference Finals.
The former Lakers assistant who was named as associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers earlier this week, told the radio hosts that he was hurt that he had not been informed directly by his former club. Shaw said “I wasn’t really told anything. Unfortunately, I found about not getting the job and who was hired for the job on ESPN. I didn’t really talk to anyone for about three weeks after that. At that point, all the speculation and what I’ve heard, the powers making those decisions felt like the team needed a change of culture and a new voice, and head in a new direction. I thought that was kind of peculiar because in the 12 years I’d been there, all we had done was gone to the championship seven times and won five championships. I felt like there were 29 other teams in the league that would love to have that kind of culture and that kind of direction. … But I didn’t expect anything to be handed to me.”
Although Shaw has since spoken with Los Angeles General Manager Mitch Kupchack and Team Owner Jerry Buss has left him a voice mail; he wishes somebody in the organization had informed him of the club’s decision before the news hit the airwaves. He said “For whatever reason, there was a glitch in communication. … I’ve always had a great relationship and open line of communication with Mitch Kupchak so I don’t think it came from there. We’ve always been on good terms and are still on good terms. I understand in his position there’s only so much that he can do even. He has people over his head that he has to follow directions. … Definitely there’s some room for improvement in terms of how … people are dealt with.”
The man who most likely dropped the ball in not conveying the news to Shaw is Lakers Vice President of Player Personnel Jim Buss, son of the Team’s Owner. Buss admitted after the club hired Brown that he should have discussed the direction the team was taking with Kobe Bryant before they announced the news. Bryant had endorsed Shaw for the job during this past season.
Shaw played for the team from 1999-2003 and was an assistant from 2004 through this past season. He was part of five teams that won NBA Titles; he deserved more from the Lakers than to find out the club’s decision on television. It was truly a bush league move from what has always been one of the classiest organizations in the NBA. If this reflects how the team would be run under Jim Buss, than his father should seriously consider selling the franchise when he is no longer able to run things.