DALLAS — One by one the Los Angeles Lakers sat before us earlier this week, and to a man professed their allegiance (in so many words) to Brian Shaw as the obvious and reasonable replacement for Phil Jackson.
Everyone from Kobe Bryant to Luke Walton made it clear that they would like Shaw as their next coach. Yet his is just one name that has popped up on the early (and unofficial) list of replacements for the legendary Jackson, whose 11 NBA titles present humongous shoes to fill for any coach.
I’m with the Lakers’ players. Shaw seems like the obvious choice to us here at HT, and apparently to the folks in Golden State as well, considering they’ve received permission to speak with him about their opening.
Forgive me for not being terribly excited about those retreads, but has anyone noticed that new-school coaches like Tom Thibodeau and Erik Spoelstra, and either Scott Brooks or Lionel Hollins will be coaching teams in the NBA’s version of the Final Four?
Shaw would seem to be cut from that same mold. In addition, Shaw played on three of the Lakers’ championship teams in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and was an assistant coach on the 2009 and 2010 championship teams. Whether or not any of that works in Shaw’s favor remains to be seen. According to ESPN.com, there is a clear distinction as to how this Lakers coaching search will go:
L.A.’s decision-making chain of command when it comes to choosing Jackson’s replacement is Jim Buss, Jerry Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak, ESPN.com’s J.A. Adande reported after the Lakers were swept Sunday by Dallas.
“In that order,” one source told Adande.
In his postseason sitdown with reporters Wednesday, Kupchak said: “We’d like to be deliberate. In Los Angeles, typically we hire coaches and they stick with us for a long time and hopefully win championships. So we’ll take our time in making that decision.”
It’s also unclear how strongly the organization wants to maintain the link to Jackson with its next hire. One source close to the team said it surprised people within the organization last month when the majority of the team’s training staff were informed that their contracts would not renewed for next year.
Yeah, if I’d just spent the past decade winning five championships with Jackson and the triangle offense I’d be looking to do any and everything I could to get away from that regime.
The last time the Lakers’ braintrust went away from the Jackson coaching tree they chose Rudy Tomjanovich, who lasted 44 games before Frank Hamblen took over. The Lakers finished the 2004-05 season with a 34-48 record and missed the playoffs for just the second time since the 1976-77 season (the Lakers also missed the playoffs after the 1993-94 season).
The Lakers might want to think long and hard about letting Shaw walk out the door for another job — he’s also been given permission to speak with the Rockets about their opening — when he’s easily the most logical candidate to replace Jackson.