Question of the Day: Who will be the next coach of the Lakers? [Updated]
Writers around the Tribune Co. discuss possible replacements for Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, who has said he will retire after this season. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune
Assuming Phil Jackson doesn't get bored looking at Montana's big sky and pulls a reversal nobody expects is coming, Lakers assistant Brian Shaw will be the team's next coach. Bigger names are out there. But none have the endorsement of Kobe Bryant, and why would management want to alienate its best player?
It's not like Shaw is a novice either. He has interviewed for other head openings. He knows how to run the triangle, even if Ron Artest doesn't. And Bryant said he spoke for his teammates as well when he went public with his support for Shaw to Yahoo Sports in early April. Bryant said he didn't want to get in the way of management, which expertly handled Bryant's messy public trade demands during the summer of 2008.
So obviously Jerry Buss and Mitch Kupchak do well in knowing when to listen to their face of the franchise and when not to. However, this is one time when it would behoove Lakers management to do so. By most accounts, Shaw is sharp, handles players well and has sat next to the Zen Master for years. It's his time.
Shandel Richardson, South Florida Sun Sentinel
A year ago, the obvious choice was Byron Scott. With Scott accepting the Cleveland job shortly before LeBron James decided to bolt for Miami, the next best thing is obvious.
Hire Brian Shaw. He's been on the Lakers bench for several years. He knows the organization. The players seem to gravitate toward him. Shaw would be a home-run pick for a team coming off its poor showing against the Dallas Mavericks in the postseason. Hiring someone with ties to the organization would make the transition much easier.
About the only negative here would be that Shaw had his best years as a member of the Boston Celtics. The Lakers fans will quickly forget about that if Shaw can sustain the type of success the franchise had under Phil Jackson over the last decade.]
[Updated at 11:01 a.m.:
Barry Stavro, Los Angeles Times
Only the Buss family and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak know their wish list — but my magic-wand selection is: Doc Rivers.
Upside: He’s won an NBA title (few active coaches have); he’s handled veteran, star-laden teams with aplomb; he’s masterful with the media; and he’s a big name.
Downside: Myopic Lakers fans won’t like a Celtic on the bench, though the first coach to lead the Lakers to a title (Bill Sharman) was an ex-Celtic. Rivers’ contract with Boston runs out on July 1, and by then Miami or Orlando might be looking for a new coach, and he’d be on their list too. Then again, Rivers might take a season off to recharge and watch his son play for Duke.
But Rivers would be a terrific pick.]
Photo: Ron Artest talks with Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw. Credit: Russ Isabella / US Presswire