Blog Entry

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

Posted on: July 17, 2011 6:50 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 6:46 am
Former Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw is upset by the treatment he received from his former team. Posted by Ben Golliver. brian-shaw

Turns out Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant wasn't the only one who was a little bit worked up over his team's coaching search, which eventually ended with Mike Brown taking the reins from a retiring Phil Jackson. Back in May, you might remember, Bryant expressed surprise that Brown had been named head coach and Lakers VP Jim Buss ended up admitting that Bryant should have been more included in the process. 

This past weekend, former Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw also took exception to how the process went down. Shaw, a candidate for the head coaching job and the preferred choice of Bryant and other Lakers veterans, said in a radio interview transcribed by that he discovered that Brown had beaten him out by watching television rather than hearing directly from the Lakers.
"I wasn't really told anything," said Shaw, who had the public backing of players Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, among others, to take over for Jackson. "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."
Shaw has every right to expect the utmost respect from the Lakers. Not only was he popular among the players, he had served the organization for more than a decade and been a part of five title-winning teams. In the interview, Shaw expressed frustration not only with how he found out that he hadn't landed the job, but also the tone of the search and the lack of communication between himself and upper management.
"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," Shaw said. "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." 

"For whatever reason, there was a glitch in communication. ... I've always had a great relationship and open line of communication with (general manager) Mitch Kupchak so I don't think it came from there," Shaw said. "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."
Shaw then added that there "wasn't really much of a relationship" between himself and Jim Buss, who was prominently involved in the coaching search. 

It's no surprise that Shaw is feeling some sour grapes. While he might not have thought the job would be handed to him, he certainly had to feel like he was the favorite with every possible homecourt advantage. To lose the job of your dreams and the fruits of your labors is a devastating blow; to get blindsided in the process obviously only made that worse.

As we've noted before, the NBA coaching ranks is one of the most discreet professions in any industry anywhere. Job security is so low and the carousel moves so quickly that you will rarely hear coaches speak up about anything other than a show of support for their head coach or some minute X-and-Os discussion before, during or after a game. Otherwise, mum's the word. For Shaw to be this open, direct and honest in his appraisal of Buss shows that he truly feels he was wronged.

That's something to worry about, again, for Lakers fans. Good management is not messing up and then apologizing after the fact. Or messing up and hoping no one says anything publicly. Good management is anticipating problems so you have time to prevent them, conducting things by the book, and treating those in the industry by the industry's standards. Clearly, Jim Buss never made things right with Shaw or Shaw would not be airing these grievances publicly. 

The stakes here aren't enormous. We're just talking about a former assistant coach. The coaching search is complete and a solid candidate was named. But conduct during free agency pursuits, trade talks, contract negotiations and the like is of paramount importance. If Jim Buss left Bryant surprised and Shaw peeved during a coaching search, you can't help but wonder who will be next to point the finger at him. 

The silver lining: Shaw landed on his feet with an associate head coaching position with the Indiana Pacers.

Since: May 7, 2011
Posted on: July 17, 2011 9:06 pm

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

The Lakers are going to have a big mess on their hand for the upcoming season. Now only did they hire a coach that didn't sit well with Kobe,and "D-Fish" but also let go someone who was very well respected and was very familiar with how things were ran. These two recent moves made by Buss will probably cause for Kobe to really start thinking about retirement......Real TalK! As for "B-Shaw",hang in tere'll get your chance to be a HC in the NBAMoney mouthSurprised

Since: Nov 9, 2008
Posted on: July 17, 2011 8:47 pm

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

Perhaps theoretically the players should stick to playing, but there's already precedent in basketball for elite players having the power to get a coach fired and replaced with someone of their own choosing, think of Magic Jonson and Michael Jordan. But perhaps there is something to worry about for Lakers' fans if Jim Buss is where he is solely because of nepotism and not out of any minimal aptitude for the task.

Since: Feb 9, 2007
Posted on: July 17, 2011 8:44 pm

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

Whether Mike Brown was the right hire is yet to be seen.  What this does show is that Jim Buss is still a novice at this game and maybe HE isn't the best choice to run the Lakers.

Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: July 17, 2011 8:35 pm

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

Excellent post. I'm a HUGE LAKER fan but KOBE is no more than a thug. Yes he can play the game of basketball, but to be honest his best days are behind him and the LAKERS would be smart to trade him while he still has value. 

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: July 17, 2011 7:33 pm

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

Brian Shaw is an unproven coach with no previous head coaching experience. Mike Brown is a "proven" coach with prior head coaching experience and he coached his team to the NBA Finals only once with Lebron "I'm Am Greater Than Michael Jordan" James. I find it quite interesting that after reading about how everyone has said that the NBA is a player-driven league and that you can hire anyone to coach a team why Buss did not hire Brian Shaw. Please do not tell me that he thinks like Billy Beane. Beane could have hired Ron Washington who has respect among his players, but Beane chose to hire Bob Geren. Washington took the once always clueless Rangers to the World Series and lost to a much superior San Francisco Giants team. 

Brian Shaw will get a job as head coach and he will lead his team to the Finals before Mike Brown does. Just don't make that team the Miami Heat. I can't stand the Three Stooges act down there. 

Since: Jun 26, 2011
Posted on: July 17, 2011 7:23 pm

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

Players should stick to doing what they get paid for...playing. The idea that players should have any say in management hirings is rediculous. What makes them think they have the knowledge, let alone the right to be involved in decisions that affect the organization. If you want the authority to make managerial decisions then quit playing and send out some resumes. Bunch of primadonnas.

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