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Monday , Jul , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Did Brian Shaw deserve better from Jim Buss and 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.”

Link

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s not that he was passed over to replace Phil Jackson as head coach. And it’s not that his contract as an assistant coach wasn’t renewed.

It’s how the Los Angeles Lakers passed over and decided against renewing Brian Shaw, who won five championships in twelve seasons with the NBA’s glamour club.

Shaw discovered his fate from the media -while watching ESPN. No courtesy call.  No email. No facebook poke. No myspace message.

Nothing at all; in fact, Shaw didn't hear from the purple-and-gold for three weeks after the Brown hiring.

To review: last month, the Lakers hired Mike Brown, a former Coach of the Year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, to take over for Zen-Master Phil.

Fair enough.

Management/ownership felt the need to switch things up after the team’s mixed regular season and disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs.

Management/ownership also felt Brown should get to pick his assistant coaches. Brown, for any number of reasons, decided against keeping Shaw.

Again, fair enough.

There is, however, no justification for not telling Shaw in a timely manner. This reflects on one person: Jim Buss.

The owner’s son always had personal issues with Jackson and his allies within the organization –which includes Jim Buss’ own sister Jeanie, Shaw, and even superstar Kobe Bryant.

Of course, Jim Buss is now running the Lakers and wants to put his stamp on things. So Shaw –Jackson's loyal right hand and Robert Duvall like consigliore – was mistreated due to personal politics.

Such pettiness is never good. And such pettiness reflects on the sad-state of the Lakers. Perhaps there's reason to worry in Hollywood.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Saturday , Jul , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe forced to share Lakers with Bynum?

Yes, aging star Kobe Bryant will still be a part of the equation, but he was put on notice over the summer when Jim Buss hired new coach Mike Brown without so much as a brief discussion with Bryant. The message is clear: Brown is Bynum's coach, and the team belongs to the young center as well.

 
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Only the Los Angeles Lakers.

Only the dysfunctional purple-and-gold would chase away a Hall of Fame sideline boss, strip a once-in-a-generation talent of his franchise-face status, and hand the reins to a talented but injury-prone center.
 
While the Lakers didn’t fire Phil Jackson, they made it easy for him to leave. Management, specifically Jim Buss, made The Zen take a pay cut last summer –despite winning consecutive championships.
 
Then management, specifically Jim Buss, meddled. Then management, specifically Jim Buss, prodded, intruded, and got petty.
 
So Jackson walked. Perhaps he’s meditating in some remote hideaway. Perhaps he’s penning another best seller on his life. Perhaps he and girlfriend Jeannie Buss –yes that would be Jim’s sister and Jerry the owner's daughter- are plotting a comeback.
 
Bottom line: Jackson left, in part, because of Jim Buss. The money, spotlight, and chance to win further championships weren’t worth dealing with the owner’s pushy son.
 
Alienating a coach is one thing. Alienating the talent is worse. Reports indicate that Jim Buss has alienated Kobe Bryant.
 
Before the lockout, the Lakers informed Bryant, one of the game’s great players, he was no longer the team's undisputed top dog. Bryant was then informed he’d share this role with Andrew Bynum.
 
Bynum, when healthy, is a top center. His play during the second half of last season was superb. Bynum, however, is fragile, spending significant time on injured reserve.
 
Then there’s the optics of sharing. Bryant wouldn’t share with the most dominant player in NBA history, Shaquille O’Neal, and instead engaged in a feud that broke up a dynasty.
 
Why would he share with Bynum, a still unproven entity? Well, he won’t.
 
Bryant has recently been silent. He hasn’t commented on the lockout, the hiring of Mike Brown or anything Laker-related since losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs. 

His silence is powerful.  Bryant knows Jim Buss pushed Phil Jackson - his friend, mentor, and coach – out. Bryant knows Jim Buss hired Brown, in part, because he’d increase Bynum’s role. And Bryant knows Bynum is Jim Buss’ guy.

So this is politics. Jim Buss never had a job in basketball before getting handed the keys to the Lakers from his father. 
 
Jim Buss, to his credit, drafted Bynum. He believes Bynum’s development and success will validate his standing within the game.
 
Here’s what Jim Buss doesn’t get: Bynum must to earn the top dog mantle. The process must be organic and natural. Or it will wreck the team.
 
Right now, Jim Buss is forcing Bynum on Bryant and the Lakers. The players will resent Jim Buss. They’ll resent Bynum. They'll resent the politics.
 
Only the Los Angeles Lakers could be such a mess without having played a single game.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 
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Tuesday , May , 25 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

End of L.A. Zen: Will Phil Jackson leave Lakers for Bulls or Nets?

"There has been no direct contact between Bulls officials and Jackson, the sources told Broussard, but people close to both parties have spoken and come away with the belief that Jackson would be open to a potential reunion in Chicago next season.

Gar Forman, the Bulls' general manager, refused to comment on the club's coaching search when reached Monday night by telephone.

The Bulls are not alone in registering interest in a coaching reunion with Jackson. NBA coaching sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein on Tuesday that the New Jersey Nets have made similar back-channel inquiries about their chances of luring Jackson away from the Los Angeles Lakers at season's end."

Link

HoopsVibe's Call: Money and power.

These are the reasons Coach Phil Jackson could leave the Los Angeles Lakers when his contract expires at season's end. Jerry Buss, the team's owner, wants the Hall of Fame sideline boss to reportedly take a $5.0 million salary reduction next season.

Jackson is earning $12.5 million for 2009-10, the last year on his contract. Buss hopes he'll do the exact same job in 2010-11 for $7.5 million.

There's also a power struggle going on. Buss is aging. He named his son, Jim, as successor -even though his daughter, Jeanie, enjoyed great success in the team's marketing department. Rumor has it Jeanie was passed over for the Lakers' top job because her long-term partner is Jackson.

Jackson, health permitting, has repeatedly said he wants to continue coaching the purple-and-gold. He's settled out west; his team will contend for years.

Still, with a huge pay cheque available and the chance to partner with a top free agent, Jackson could conceivably go back on his word. 

Will Jackson leave the Lakers? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.        

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Wednesday , May , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Phil Jackson: There’s a 90% Chance I’ll Coach Lakers Next Year

Phil Jackson says he hopes to return as the Los Angeles Lakers coach next season and can't envision coaching anywhere else next year.

Maybe. Probably. Like 90 percent.

"I'd say it's 90 percent that if I'm coaching it'll be here," Jackson cautiously mused before the Lakers game against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.

Jackson's contract expires at the end of this season. The uncertainty over whether he'll sign an extension escalated last week when team vice president and Jackson's long-term girlfriend Jeanie Buss said that she thinks Jackson, 64, will coach next season, but wasn't sure that it would be with the Lakers. She said her father, Lakers owner Jerry Buss, doesn't want to continue paying Jackson at his current $12 million a season rate.