Replacing a legend is hard, replacing a legend for a second time and trying not to screw up is even harder. The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping they did exactly that in hiring Mike Brown to be their new head coach. It was widely assumed that assistant coach Brian Shaw would fill the post vacated by Phil Jackson but Brown emerged from a handful of candidates to become the latest entrusted with guiding the storied franchise.
Left to lament over the hiring is Shaw, 11 Lakers who were in Shaw’s corner, and most importantly Kobe Bryant. When asked for comment regarding his new coach, Bryant had none.
It will never come to light, but it shouldn’t take an insider to know that Bryant isn’t too pleased. Bryant outwardly expressed his support for Shaw to be Jackson’s successor throughout the season and again in his exit meeting with Lakers officials. It’ll be interesting to see how Kobe takes Brown’s hiring considering he wasn’t consulted on Brown and his preference of Shaw fell on deaf ears.
What becomes of Shaw after 15 years in the Laker organization? Sure he benefited from Jackson’s tutelage but being jilted at the press conference table can’t possibly rest well with him. Shaw had to persevere through years of Jackson waffling with retirement, Kurt Rambis being next in line, and Byron Scott rumors only to be strung along in Jackson’s farewell season.
The Lakers brass aren’t exactly giving Shaw a ringing endorsement for other coaching openings by their actions. Shaw is highly thought of throughout the league and shouldn’t have a prolonged absence as either a head or assistant coach in spite of the blatant disrespect for his hard work and dedication shown to him by the Lakers.
Maybe there was an underlying point to Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s statue storm last week. Since then the Lakers have managed to ignore the recommendation of their outgoing coach and franchise player while telling their one time coach in waiting to keep waiting.
Whatever the case may be, the Lakers organization has a lot to learn about loyalty.