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Saturday , Jun , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Should Kobe and Lakers pray for work stoppage?

You're not going to run as fast. You're not going to jump as high. You have to pick your moments. The great example when he picked his moment was the playoff game when he went down the middle and dunked, the one he had agains New Orleans center Emeka Okafor] in Game 5 of the first-round series. That was checkmate. He's a warrior and understands the game. All players have injuries. It's part of it and how he can manage it. He's been doing a good job with that. Nobody is going to run and jump [like] when they were 18 or 19. It's impossible for people to think that. As long as he's enjoying the game and keeps the two seven-footers [Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum], I still think he has three, four or five more years to play at a high level.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: A work stoppage may be best for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Yes, I said it. Sure, a dispute over money between millionaire players and billion owners is disgusting. And sadly, the season may get cancelled.

A work stoppage would allow Kobe Bryant to get some much-needed rest. His arthritic knee needs time. Same will the bumps, bruises, tears, and strains he’s accumulated over his long and distinguished career.

A season off will let Bryant return as the game’s top player, a title he lost after his Lakers disappointing loss to the world champion Mavericks.  And those 'three, four, five years' of great play could become longer. 

There’s a parallel to Bryant’s situation down the road in Orange County, California.

In 2004, NHL star Teemu Selanne was considering ending his career due to a shattered knee. Selanne, who notched a remarkable 70 goals as a rookie, was coming off a 16 goal campaign with the Colorado Avalanche.

Like Bryant, his knee had robbed him of all explosiveness. The grind of being a pro athlete had taken its toll.

Then the NHL lockout hit. The 2004-05 season never happened. Rather than ply his trade in Europe, Selanne took a prolonged break.

He returned better than ever. Selanne has posted impressive scoring numbers ever since and notches clutch goals for the Anaheim Ducks. Most importantly, he won a Stanley Cup. All while pushing 40 years of age.

Perhaps a work stoppage would be best for the Lakers and Bryant.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jun , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lakers could learn from classy Brian Shaw

"It's a little strange, going from 11 years and five championships to essentially being out on the street," Shaw said in a phone interview Friday. "But I can feel good knowing that I did everything possible to represent the Laker organization as well as I could."

A loyal employee even to this strange end, Shaw would not comment on any details of his Lakers situation. He said he had been avoiding media interviews until I phoned him, and was reluctant to speak in anything but general terms. "I have always held the Lakers in high standing, and I'm not going to change that now," he said.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: After 11 years as a player and assistant coach, Brian Shaw won’t be returning to the Los Angeles Lakers.

That’s what he’s heard through the media, at least.  

The Lakers’ front office still hasn’t contacted Shaw to inform him he won’t be their next head coach. They instead gave the job to Mike Brown, the former sideline boss with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Let's be clear: passing over Shaw isn't the issue. Treating him this way is. The Buss clan, who own the NBA’s glamour franchise, must be more professional.

In today’s interconnected world, they have to talk with Shaw (after all, he was one of three final candidates to be their next bench-boss). Any platform would have worked: email, Facebook, Friendster, Skype, text message.

It’s hard not to think this was personal. Remember, Shaw was aligned with legendary coach Phil Jackson, who often clashed with the front office and is dating the owner’s daughter.

Shaw deserves credit for taking the high road. He avoided bashing the organization, and thanked them.

Bottom line: Shaw showed class. Buss and the Lakers could learn from him.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jun , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lakers to retire Shaq’s number

The Los Angeles Lakers plan to honor their former self-proclaimed Superman, Shaquille O'Neal, by raising his No. 34 jersey to the rafters. "We don't have any specific timetable on this, but you can be assured we will retire Shaq's jersey," said Lakers spokesman John Black in an email on Wednesday.


HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: His career is over. So are his feuds.

It appears Shaquille O`Neal has called it a day, announcing his retirement via twitter on Wednesday.  Everyone is caught up in the good vibes –even those who had beef with O`Neal.

Remember, O`Neal`s relationship with teams usually soured after he left. Like the Los Angeles Lakers. Like the Miami Heat. Or like the Phoenix Suns. 

The purple-and-gold have moved on and announced they`ll retire O`Neal`s number. This is a well deserved honour. The massive five-man won three consecutive championships in Hollywood.

Championships only tell part of the story. While manning the middle for the Lakers, O`Neal was, perhaps, the most dominating force the NBA ever saw.

So the Lakers and their former franchise face let the past die. Hopefully, others do the same and O`Neal gets his due.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , May , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Jim Buss: We should have consulted Kobe about hiring Mike Brown

Lakers owner Jim Buss expressed regret that Kobe Bryant was not consulted about the hiring of Mike Brown. "Looking back on it, we should have contacted Kobe," Buss says. "Kobe said it was management's job to pick a coach. He just said, 'Defense first.' That's what we were doing, but we should have reached out to him.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s one thing not to consult Kobe Bryant about hiring Mike Brown as coach. It’s another thing to admit as much publicly.

There’s no reason for the Buss clan, who own the Los Angeles Lakers, to give interviews about hiring a new sideline boss and whether their superstar, Bryant, was involved.

There’s also no reason to admit fault in not involving Bryant. He's their employee. And, on paper, Brown meets Bryant’s criteria perfectly. 

So why not keep this all in-house? What possible good can come from letting the press know this?

Now they get to do what they love most: speculate. This is especially appealing because it involves the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA’s glamour franchise.

And Brown’s already tough job just got tougher.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , May , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Scottie Pippen: LeBron is better than Michael Jordan

Scottie Pippen suggested, on ESPN Radio’s Mike And Mike In the Morning, that LeBron James, and not his former teammate, Michael Jordan, could end up being the greatest all-around player the league has ever seen.

“Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to ever play in the game, but I may go as far to say LeBron James is probably the greatest player to ever play the game,” Pippen said.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Take a deep breath. Now exhale. Repeat.

While you’re meditating please remember Scottie Pippen didn’t totally go there. He didn’t say LeBron James was better than Michael Jordan.

Pippen sure came close, though.

He said James may be a greater all-around player because of athleticism and size. And he said James can a dominate game in more ways than Jordan.

Purists will be offended. After all, Jordan has six championship rings. James has none. Jordan transcended basketball. James gave basketball a bad name with The Decision.

Still, Pippen, in theory, may have a point. James’ rare combination of size, speed, skill, and power gives him a unique advantage over any player to ever grace an NBA floor.   

When it’s all said and done, James may eventually be in the same sentence as Jordan. Not now, though.

Here’s the reality: James lacks Jordan’s will and competitiveness. Remember, Jordan overcame the Detroit Pistons’ harsh tactics; upset Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals; handled Clyde the Glyde and Rip City; twice withstood the best John Stockton and Karl Malone, two Hall of Famers, could offer; and defeated Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, and the Seattle Sonics.

James has done nothing of the sort. Yet.

Let’s be fair: Jordan had help. It’s interesting his ‘help’ (Pippen) is so quick to deflect praise away from his former teammate and supposed friend towards others.

Maybe Pippen’s statement says more about the rivalry between him and Jordan, and less about James’ place in the game.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , May , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron gives Thumbs Up to Lakers hiring Mike Brown

"I think the Lakers got them a great coach.” “Mike Brown was a great coach,” James said. “He gave us success that we hadn’t had before in that city. And it started with his defensive concepts. He brought in a defensive mind set that we didn’t have.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: This is the ultimate co-sign.

LeBron James, perhaps the NBA’s top player, endorsed the Los Angeles Lakers hiring Mike Brown to replace Phil Jackson on the sideline.

The Lakers passed over in-house candidates and long-time assistants Chuck Person and Brian Shaw to hire Brown.

But James is right: the Lakers got a great one in Brown. These two were together with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and combined forces to get the club to the NBA Finals.

Most importantly, the former Coach of the Year is what the purple-and-gold need. Here`s why:

First, Brown made his bones as a defensive coach. He learned under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs, and refined his get-stops philosophy as the head man with the Cavaliers.

Last year, the Lakers got lazy. They stopped defending. Brown will hold them accountable in their own end.

Second, Brown has a track record for succeeding with superstars. Again, he clicked with James, so he should be able to get the most out of Kobe Bryant.

No two players are the same. And no two superstars are the same. However, precedence is on Brown`s side.

Third, a change was necessary. The Lakers had grown stale and needed a new voice from outside the organization.

The players would have been too comfortable with Shaw, which is perhaps why they were lobbying management to hire him.

Now the hard part begins. Expectations in Laker-land will be huge.

Brown is up to it, though. Just ask LeBron.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , May , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kendrick Perkins: Thunder ‘didn’t trust each other’

The Thunder has toyed with this disturbing trend throughout the playoffs. Oklahoma City has trailed after one quarter in 11 of its 15 games this postseason. But this was as bad as it's ever been. “Tonight, we didn't trust each other,” said Kendrick Perkins. “We just got to have trust in each other. That's the bottom line.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Kendrick Perkins a touch too assertive right now?

Yes, he has playoff experience. Yes, he has a championship. Yes, he has a tell-it-like-it-is personality.

Still, it's a bit harsh to publicly declare that the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t trust each other in game three.

Perkins, after all, is new. He joined the Thunder at the trade deadline. He’s a valuable player, but hardly a superstar. That role belongs to Kevin Durant, who isn’t calling out teammates to reporters.

So why should Perkins?

Another question: why is Perkins calling a timeout early in the third quarter of game three? That's the coaching staff's job. Only a few great players can get away with calling for a stoppage in play.

To be fair: I like the burly center. I like the simplicity of his game. If healthy, he’s probably the difference between the Boston Celtics winning and losing game seven of the 2010 NBA Finals.

He just needs to take it down a notch.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , May , 14 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Charge or block: Darrell Arthur’s facial on Nick Collison?

HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Yes, the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma City Thunder yesterday to force a do-or-die game seven on Sunday.

The real debate will be this: charge or block?

After all, Memphis reserve Darrell Arthur threw down a facial for the ages on Nick Collison, but the basket was disallowed because the referees called a charge.

Nobody disagreed more than Memphis` Marc Gasol, who, through his facial expressions, either thought it was a block or finally saw the replay of Lakers coach Phil Jackson abusing brother Pau in game three against the Dallas Mavericks.

Charge or block? Watch the video, make the call, and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.  

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Sunday , May , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Mavericks complete sweep, what’s next for Kobe, Pau, and Lakers?

Jason Terry (32 points) nails nine 3-pointers and his teammates add 11 more as the Mavericks advance to the conference finals with a 122-86 thumping of the Lakers.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Kings are dead. The Kings are dead. Fourth quarter cheap shots aside, they went out with a whimper. Not a bang.

The Dallas Mavericks blew out the Los Angeles Lakers in game four of the Western Conference semi-finals, sweeping the two-time defending champions out of the playoffs.

And it wasn’t close. The Mavericks won by 36 points. Team Cuban has to be favoured to emerge from the west.

Back to the soap opera known as the Lakers. This is supposedly Phil Jackson’s final game on the sideline. The Zen-Master is done, and he’ll retreat to his ranch in Montana, cabin in Belize, house boat in Alaska, or some other remote location for 'introspection'.

What about Pau Gasol? The Spanish post has been taking criticism from fans, TMZ, and, worst of all, the infamous and notorious Snoop Dogg. Something has to give.

There are questions about Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, and the Lakers’ bench. Andrew Bynum may be dangled as trade bait to land a certain post from the Orlando Magic, who is set to be a free agent in 2012.

Either way, changes are coming. Only Kobe Bryant is safe.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , May , 08 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Magic Johnson: Lakers must pick between Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol

"Dr. Buss has a lot of work to do," said Johnson. "He's probably going to have to blow this team up after the season if the Lakers lose this series because you have to come back with some fresh faces. You have to pick between the two big men with which one you keep and then you trade the other one."

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Ah Magic, tell us how you really feel.

One of the greatest Los Angeles Lakers ever believes it’s time to dismantle the two-time defending champions. According to Mr. ‘No Look’, the outcome against the Dallas Mavericks doesn’t matter.
Johnson believes what was once the Lakers’ strength, their size, is now their weakness. And the twin towers of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol makes them vulnerable against athletic teams that run.
He may be right, too.
Johnson believes management must pick: Bynum or Gasol? Dealing one would allow the purple-and-gold to get back young, quick players.
Such a proposition is risky. For instance, what if the Lakers deal the wrong post?
Keeping Bynum would probably make the most sense because he’s younger and performed brilliantly down the stretch; however, he also has a history of injuries.
Hanging onto Gasol would seem problematic. His confidence is shot and he’s susceptible to mental breakdowns –like game three against the Mavericks when
Zen-Master Phil Jackson made like old school Bobby Knight and beat him.
But Gasol has a world class skill-set. When playing well, he’s easily one of the premier posts in the NBA. Those days, however, seem few and far between.
There are no easy answers in Laker-land. The former face of the franchise is right, though: something must change.
--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , May , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Ron Artest on game 3 suspension: I’m ‘ready to move forward’

After his clothesline of Dallas guard Jose Barea earned him a one-game suspension, Lakers forward Ron Artest offered no semblance of an apology. "No reaction," Artest said of missing Game 3 Friday in the Lakers' semifinal series against the Dallas Mavericks and losing $57,476 in pay. "Ready to move forward."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They’re down 2-0 in the Western Conference semi-final against the Dallas Mavericks. Their center says they have ‘trust issues’. Their forward got suspended for game three because he threw a clothesline that would make Georges St. Pierre jealous. 

Other than that, it’s business as usual as the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers head to Dallas to resume their series versus Team Cuban.

Jokes aside, the big story in Lakers-land was that Ron Artest refused to publicly apologize for putting his arm on J.J. Barea’s face last night. 

Artest shouldn’t say he’s sorry because he recently won the Citizenship Award. He doesn’t owe you, me, or society a thing.

It’s different with teammates. Artest’s lapse earned him a one-game forced vacation, which means the Lakers will be short-handed in their biggest test of the year Friday night.

Of course, he may have apologized privately. We don’t know. And we probably never will.

We know one thing: Friday is a must win for the Lakers and they could have used Artest.

--Oly Sandor.

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W’Sup with the Lakers in the playoffs?
Wednesday , May , 04 , 2011 J.N.

W’Sup with the Lakers in the playoffs?

I’m sitting here listening to Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack.” Peep his pimp hand in the music video as he crushes it in front of his ex. That is some grimy ass stuff. Nuff said. If I ever was a wrestler, that is probably my entrance song. Mark Morrison looks like a cross between Grace Jones and DMX, though. The song has nothing to do with Pau and Kobe. Sometimes, it is nice to go back to simpler times. In 2011 Laker land, things are complicated.

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Thursday , Apr , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Best facial: Kobe on Okafor or Kobe baptizing Howard?

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last night, Kobe Bryant’s ankle looked fine. Just ask Emeka Okafor.

Yesterday, Bryant threw down an epic facial over Okafor in the Lakers’ game five win over the Hornets. It drew comparisons to another historic facial, a baptism in fact.

Years ago, Bryant packed it on the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard and later told reporters he was simply baptizing the five-man.

So which dunk is better: the jam on Okafor or Howard’s baptism? Watch both videos and tell us which dunk is best.

(Kobe on ‘Meka.)

(Call it The Baptism.)

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Apr , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on ankle injury: It won’t stop me

Bryant, who is clearly the Lakers best player, was seen walking out of the arena on crutches but says it's going to take a lot for him not to play in Game 5 on Tuesday in LA. "It's going to take a lot to stop me to play," Bryant said. "We'll make sure we stay on top of it."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Sitting isn’t an option. Kobe Bryant will play.

Bryant is the NBA’s most competitive player. He lives for the playoffs; he lives for the spotlight; and he lives for challenges like stopping New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul.  

Of course, the Lakers want Bryant to play –even if he isn’t at full strength. The Hornets might be okay with this, too.

In game four, Paul specifically ran pick-and-rolls because he wanted to expose an injured Bryant off the switch. For instance, he flew by Bryant and found Jarrett Jack for the game-winning basket.   

The Lakers even attempted to hide Bryant on defense, rotating him in-and-out of the final moments of the game for defensive and offensive possessions.

There’s a ray of light/gold for the Lakers: they can still raise their game to another level, while the Hornets are probably playing their best basketball.

This is good for the Lakers. They must be better for the rest of the series, especially if Bryant is hobbling on one leg.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Chris Paul prepares for Lakers with lapdance from Nicki Minaj

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Every NBA player has their own way of preparing for the playoffs.

Some turn off their phones to limit distractions. Some go on special diets. Some get extra sleep.

And some, like the New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul, get a lap dance from the curvy Nicki Minaj. Watch CP3 'prepare' for a playoff battle against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

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Saturday , Apr , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Magic to deal Howard this summer?

"I would expect a Dwight trade this summer or before the next season starts, from what I'm hearing. Rose likes his core because it's the core he has. He's not opposed to the Bulls improving it." (Ric Bucher, ESPN)


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Teams who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

So the Orlando Magic must give serious consideration to trading Dwight Howard or they risk losing another once-in-a-generation-center via free agency.

In the late nineties, Shaquille O’Neal, the Magic’s franchise face and the game’s most dominating player, left Orlando to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

As a Laker, he won three straight championships. The Magic were forced to start over.

Howard, a free agent next summer, is rumored to be looking at bigger markets. He’s been linked to those same Lakers. He’s also been linked to the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets.

The Magic were in the mix to keep their smiling superstar until they blinked this year and changed their roster mid-season with a pair of questionable trades.

Hedo Turkoglu has been decent; however, GM Otis Smith’s gamble on Gilbert Arenas has failed. The Hibachi is out of propane, struggling with shot knees, high expectations that come with a big-ticket contract, and low confidence.

Smith has failed to find Howard a co-star. So Howard, if he wants a championship, will likely find his own co-stars elsewhere.

Smith, despite his denials, will have to be open to a trade. Unless he wants to repeat the past and lose Howard for nothing as a free agent.

--Oly Sandor.

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The 2011 Hoopties
Friday , Apr , 15 , 2011 J.N.

The 2011 Hoopties

It’s that time again for the regular season end awards just like any other television sports show. It is time to pass out the awards. Rather than giving awards for the usual categories such as Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year….you get the picture…..let’s focus on categories that truly need to be highlighted – categories that I make up! Who cares about those other official awards anyway? They’re already locked up.

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Thursday , Apr , 14 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant fined 100K for Gay Slur

Lakers star Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for a homophobic slur that commissioner David Stern called "offensive and inexcusable."

After receiving a technical foul during Tuesday's game against the Spurs, Bryant stormed to the bench, hit his seat before sitting down, threw a towel and then yelled "Bennie!" toward referee Bernie Adams. Bryant then leaned back and muttered a gay slur.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Everybody screws up and says things they regret.

Yesterday, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant screwed up and said something he should regret in a game against the San Antonio Spurs.

After getting slapped with a technical foul, Bryant called the referee a homophobic slur that's intolerable. The television cameras, of course, caught his lapse.

Unfortunately, Commissioner David Stern’s punishment isn't enough. The NBA’s head suit called Bryant’s words ‘inexcusable’ and fined the five-time champion $100, 000.

To you and me, 100K is a lot of money; however, it’s a mere drop in the bucket for Bryant. After all, the Lakers are paying him a whopping $25 million for the 2011 season.

Stern can’t suspend Bryant for a playoff game, but he can force him to sit a game or two next season. Or, Stern could encourage Bryant to explain his words publicly or even raise awareness of homophobia by partnering with a gay and lesbian organization.

A fine isn’t enough.

--Oly Sandor.

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Are the Lakers Imploding?
Wednesday , Apr , 13 , 2011 Christopher Sells

Are the Lakers Imploding?

I have an admission to make: I've been pretty bored with the NBA 's regular season. It's not that there haven't been plenty of interesting things going on in the league for the last month, I've just been more interested in getting to the 2 1/2 month marathon that is the Playoffs. But in preparation for the postseason, I re-engaged late last week. And as a reward for my rededication, the Lakers decided to make it worth my while. They're still my pick to come out of the Western Conference, but they've definitely added some intrigue to what may have been an otherwise predictable run to the Finals.

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Saturday , Apr , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant wants Brian Shaw to replace Phil Jackson

Bryant told Yahoo! Sports on Friday that he and his teammates will endorse the longtime Lakers assistant as Jackson’s replacement. Shaw is in his sixth full season on Jackson’s coaching staff after serving as an assistant to Frank Hamblen during the second half of the 2004-05 season.

“I feel all of the players believe in coach B-Shaw,” Bryant said the Lakers’ Friday morning shootaround. “We have such a rapport with him. He’s been with us for such a long time. We all have a bit of a bias towards him.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is ‘P-Jax’ done? Is ‘B-Shaw’ sliding down a seat to the big chair on the Staples Centre bench?

After years of speculation and gossip, it appears Phil Jackson’s Zen has run its course with the Los Angeles Lakers. This will be his final year guiding the NBA’s glamour franchise.

Yes, he’s said this for years. And yes, Jackson continually cries wolf on retirement, spouting off to the media only to return for more money.

This time seems different, though. The players are speaking up about having Brian Shaw replace their Hall of Fame sideline boss.

Kobe Bryant and company know Shaw. He’s a former Laker. And currently sits as an assistant on Jackson’s staff.

Would Shaw want the gig, though?

Best case scenario: he wins an NBA championship and is doing what Jackson has always done. Worst case scenario: the Lakers’ run ends and Shaw becomes the scapegoat.

There’s little upside to replacing a legend. However, the NBA only has thirty head coaching jobs, so it may be now or never for Shaw.

--Oly Sandor.

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