L.A. Lakers Fall Should Be Blamed on Jim Buss and Grudge Against Phil Jackson

Former Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw recently sat down with Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen to reveal behind-the-scene details of his fallout with the Lakers this offseason. 

As with most dealings concerning Lakers management, details are sparse.

But Shaw's candid remarks provide a glimpse into the objectives of Lakers management and how dearly Lakers apprentice overseer Jim Buss wanted to run 11-time NBA Champion head coach Phil Jackson out of town.

Jackson's retirement was decided well before the Lakers' embarrassing exit from the 2011 NBA Playoffs. As Jackson's potential replacement, Shaw was slotted to interview for the position.

In confidence, Jackson told Shaw that his only shot at getting the new head coaching gig was to completely abandon his relationship with him.

In Shaw's words:

"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."

And when it came time for Shaw to interview for the position at the Buss residence in front of Dr. Jerry Buss, Jim Buss and Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, true colors were shown.

Recalls Shaw:

"There were some things that were said that I won't really get into... It was kind of bashing Phil Jackson... The negativity toward Phil didn't come from Mitch... 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."

Jim Buss had an obvious disdain for Jackson's coaching approach and he seemed dead-set on washing the Lakers completely clean of his influence.

As it were, Shaw—a Phil Jackson coaching disciple—didn't stand a chance. 

It's odd th...

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