Brian Shaw has a reason to gripe. He waited and waited for the chance to become the Lakers’ head coach after Phil Jackson retired. He sat through two near-retirements from Jackson. He coached the team when health problems prevented the Zen Master from being able to. He got to know the players, earned their respect and support. He got along with management, didn’t make a fuss. Oh, yeah, and he helped them win championships. So getting passed over for the job after it was considered to be a lock as his, that understandably upset him. And he’s let it be known.
Shaw went on ESPN Radio in Los Angeles Friday and talked about how the interview process went down. Shaw found out about not getting the job from ESPN, not the Lakers. Ouch. He didn’t talk to anyone from the Lakers organization until three weeks later. Ouch.
Then Shaw revealed what’s been widely reported. Without saying it explicitly or naming names, Shaw talked about how Jim Buss has taken control of the franchise, saying how the “power(s) that were making decisions, felt team needed a change of culture, new voice, head in new direction.”
Shaw naturally felt a little edgy at that considering, you know, 12 years, 7 Finals, 5 rings with him on board. He all but said “Jim Buss came in and threw his weight around, tossed out everyone associated with Phil and it wasn’t Mitch Kupchak or Jerry Buss’s fault. Shaw said that Jerry Buss called him to talk to him. No such call from Jim Buss.
The future of the Lakers will always be bright. They have the most money, the best market, the most success, it’s cool to play for the Lakers. But the way this new regime has started has to make Lakers fans jittery to a certain degree. This is not how things should be done, even if the decision was sound.