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: Jul 22, 2007
Posted on: July 18, 2011 10:01 pm

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

In the real world you don't get told who gets hired for a position before an official announcement is made by the HR dept.
If you're a candidate and are interviewed you will be told just before the formal announcement is made.
If you're not interviewed than you're an employee like anyone else and no matter how long you've been employed by said organization you don't get any official special access or advance notice.
Now, knowing that is how the real world works and that coaching and management is more like the "real world" than the athlete side doesn't it seem to reason that we can apply those same standards in this case?

Since: May 13, 2010
Posted on: July 18, 2011 9:32 pm

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

The media trying to make a story out of nothing? This is not even a big deal, the Lakers didn't owe SHaw anything. They have kepthim gainfully employed for the past decade. Who cares if they didn't hire him as coach. Going into the playoffs he was the front runner no doubt. He was the defensive coach and I got to say, our defense is what let us down mostly. We can point at individuals who sucked in the Dallas series but defense is a team concept. It takes everyone on the team to play D and we were not playing defense at all in that series. That was his responsiblity. He blew the job, he didn't get disrespected. He didn't earn his job, he should have done a better job coaching against Dallas. Look, this is LA, nobody cares what you've done last year or previous years, it's about the now. There is no room for failure in titletown. Brian Shaw failed to secure his coaching job, his bad. This has no bearing on the Lakers or the organization. They didn't owe Brian Shaw anything, they didn't owe Kobe Bryant or any of the other players to keep Shaw as well. THis was a good move for the future of the Lakers. I hope Shaw finds success elsewhere but he didn't deserve to coach my team after his defensive schemes got my team swept out of the playoffs. This is the truth and the truth may hurt!

Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: July 18, 2011 8:24 pm

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

it's not about being owed anything, it's about respecting the person that's been in your organization for so long, by telling him what direction you're going in, instead of hearing about it on ESPN. 

Since: Jun 16, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 10:58 am

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

@thebison, yeah you are right nothing is owed to you but what happened to RESPECT? thats what its about its the principle, just like the whole big Lebron taking my talents to south beach deal. this is a business and should be handled as such, and with that said this is not how you handle business!!!! And we wonder why people are not loyal

Since: Jul 18, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 9:51 am

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

Sure Brian Shaw is disappointed he did not get the job, but what he's upset about is how he was not given the common courtesy of a call back.  We're not talking about an outsider here; he worked for the Lakers for 10 years!  And the argument about players should just play is “old-style thinking” – in today’s market, there is a union between the elite players and management that exists to ensure future success on that team.  To NOT listen to Kobe’s perspective from a player’s side is short sighted of management.  Remember back to the Magic Johnson era and if memory serves didn’t he have a Lakers couch replaced?  This is nothing new, but that’s what makes this interesting to follow because IF there is an NBA season, and IF the Lakers come back all will be forgotten, but if they stink up the place we will talk/write about this FOREVER!.


Since: Aug 29, 2007
Posted on: July 18, 2011 9:05 am

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

Coach Shaw Welcome to Detroit!!

Since: Jul 13, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 1:07 am

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.
So I guess Michael Jordan didn't have the right to interfer with the firing of Doug Collins? What knowledge did Jordan have about a mediocre coach. Had Collins stayed in Chicago, do you think the Bulls would have won even 1 championship. Kobe is like Jordan, he knows the ends and outs of all the aspects of the game.

It might be for the better to keep the primdonnas (as you called them) happy to win championships! I'm sure the Pacers are extremely happy to have the likes of Shaw as their coach, and head coach in waiting. Buss makes Bird look like a genius for hiring a coach and ex player like Brian Shaw!

Since: Jul 17, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 12:30 am

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

This is a matter of money. Players like a Kobe Bryant bring too much value to a franchise to be ignored. If they leave, so does the value of your team. So to avoid that, you try to keep them satisfied. This doesn't have anything to do with if they will be good coaches or not.
As far as the organization goes, if the players don't know what direction they are going in then the organization is doomed to fail. 

Since: Jul 22, 2007
Posted on: July 17, 2011 11:43 pm

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

I don't care how long you coach with an organization, NOTHING is owed to you.
I don't care which players you're a friend of, NOTHING is owed to you.
All you can do is do your job and when there is an opening if you've done a good job to catch the decision makers eye than you WILL get an opportunity to interview it is then up to you to make an even better impression so much so that they hand you the reigns to their multimillion dollar organization and say "Go to work".
I don't know where this idea that a player gets a say in who coaches has come from, I NEVER heard of Larry Bird having a say in who the team hired as a coach when I was growing up in Boston & following the C's - NEVER!
It seems that within the past 15 years or so it seems like more and more power has been handed to the players and fans are more than ok with it, what do players know other than playing the game? They don't know the direction the orgabnization wants to go into and getting them involved with all that is asking too much you want to keep their minds on playing the game.
On top of all that when last I checked the best players in ANY sport very rarely make the best coaches & executives so why would we think that Kobe would know any better than Mr. Buss which coach would be best?
Think about it, Phil jackson, one of the best coaches ever NOT a superstar player but a great coach, Isaiah Thomas superstar player terrible coach & executive and that's just one example of many I can cite.

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: July 17, 2011 11:30 pm

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

Kobe's got a no trade clause attached to his contract...

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or