PORTLAND, Ore. — Brian Shaw has always appeared to be the odds-on favorite to replace Phil Jackson when he retires from coaching at season’s end. Neither of them has spoken publicly about the possible transition during the summer, but Kobe Bryant did on Friday in an interview with a reporter from Yahoo! Sports.
“I feel all of the players believe in coach B-Shaw,” he said. “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. I don’t want to get in the way of management. But we’ve all kind of had our eye on him for a while.”
Bryant also said: “He’s been around Phil for a long time,” Bryant said. “He has a great deal of knowledge and understands the game. He communicates very well. He’s tough. I think when his time comes he’ll be ready. We go way back (as Lakers teammates in the early 2000s). It’s an honest relationship. What I mean by that is he doesn’t tell you what you want to hear. He tells you what you need to hear. That’s something I respect in people. I don’t like (butt) kissers. Never have. I have a great deal of respect for him.”
Bryant said the decision would be up to Lakers management, however.
“It’s not my responsibility to do that,” Bryant said. “It’s their responsibility to come to me and say, ‘What do you think about X, Y and Z?’ I’d be more than happy to give my opinion. I’m not just going to march up there and say, ‘Do X, Y and Z.’ If they want my input, they know where to find me.”