“Phil let me know going into the interview with the Lakers for me to almost disassociate myself from him, that anything that I said about him or the triangle system would hurt me because of his lack of relationship with Jimmy Buss,” Shaw said. “So when I did interview, that was the point that I tried to make about the fact that I had played for Phil only my last four years, and that I played for all of these other coaches.”
“There were some things that were said that I won’t really get into,” Shaw said. “It was kind of bashing Phil Jackson, that I just refused to just sit and listen to. And that’s when I said, ‘Hey, I love Phil Jackson. I appreciate everything that we’ve all been able to accomplish under him. We’ve all prospered since he’s been the coach here.’ ”
Told of Shaw’s comments, Kupchak said he and the Lakers will always appreciate Jackson’s 11 seasons. “Phil and I have a great relationship — I was with him two days ago and we sat down for an hour a week ago,” Kupchak said. “We had been to seven NBA Finals and won five Finals with him, and this organization is eternally grateful to have had him as a coach.
“I don’t know what you’re referring to what took place in that meeting. I don’t even want to speculate. Phil has been very, very good to this organization and city, and we are very, very grateful to have had him as coach. I consider him as a friend and somebody I owe a lot to personally.”
But Shaw says Kupchak wasn’t the one speaking poorly of Jackson.
“The negativity toward Phil didn’t come from Mitch,” Shaw said. “It was more from Jimmy Buss just doubting some of the decisions he made in terms of how he was handling and running the team and coaching the team on the sidelines, and sitting down instead of getting up. People look at coaches and want them to pace up and down the sidelines and bark instructions to the guys. That’s not Phil’s demeanor. That was viewed as a negative in my estimation — but it won him five championships with the Lakers and six with the Bulls, and that was his coaching style when he won, so why was that not acceptable now?”
“Jim Cleamons is coaching in China right now,” Shaw said. “Frank Hamblen, a longtime assistant to Jackson is retired. I ended up coming here, but the equipment manager, Rudy Garciduenas, who had been there for 28 years — he got let go. Assistant GM Ronnie Lester, was hired by Jerry West, had been there for 25 years — he got let go. And a lot of other people on the basketball operations side who had been there through the Showtime era and the championships when I was playing, and even the championships from the time when I was coaching, for no reason they are let go. And that’s the sad part of it and the part that is hard to understand when you say we want a new voice, we want a different direction or we want to change the culture around here. I’m like, 29 other teams in the league would love to have this kind of culture and direction, to go to the Finals seven times in 11 years and win five of them.”
“It’s the weirdest thing. It’s like we should be ashamed, when it should be the other way.”
There is a feeling that the Lakers staff got cast aside and should hide, “Phil is the best, not arguably, whose coaching staff almost seems like they were leopards and nobody wanted to touch us, which is hard for me to understand.” There is a feeling that the guys from Phil’s staff are not as sought after as they should be. For reasons to remain unknown GMs cringe when Phil Jackson’s name is brought up in head coaching job interviews and the triangle offense is mentioned. However Shaw feels confident, “I won’t shy away from the fact that I was a part of the Lakers coaching staff.” The Lakers coaching staff has over 30 championship rings and has had more success than any coaching squad the past year throughout the league.
Shaw says he was disappointed he did not get the Lakers head coaching job but is thankful to have learned from the great Phil Jackson and understands the nature of the business and that it was time to move on after spending the last 12 years with the Lakers.
Larry Bird reached out to Brian Shaw to offer him the job with the Indiana Pacers associate head coach. All in all, former Lakers assistant Brian Shaw has found a new home as the associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers. He will work alongside Pacers coach Frank Vogel, a man he knows from their days on the Lakers staff together during the 2005-06 season.