Brian Shaw’s return to Staples Center is a winner

Tomorrow’s story tonight …

Brian Shaw rode the bus to Staples Center and walked down to the corridor to the visiting locker room for the first time in his career as an NBA player or coach. Then he stood at center court, with the Lakers’ championship banners hanging behind him.

It was a strange feeling.

After all, Shaw spent 12 seasons as a player and a coach with the Lakers, winning three titles as a versatile guard and two as an assistant. He returned Sunday as an assistant coach with Indiana, helping guide the Pacers to a 98-96 victory.

“Obviously, those memories are never going to go anywhere,” he said before his new team faced his old one for the only time this season. “I’m just trying to focus on what I’m trying to do with this team. …

“My mentality is the Lakers are just like any other team. We’re going to play ’em; we want to beat ’em. When the game is over we can hug and shake hands and talk. Now, they’re an opponent that is standing in our way.”

Conventional wisdom suggested Shaw was the right man in the right spot to replace Phil Jackson when he retired as the Lakers’ coach last May. He didn’t get the job that went to Mike Brown and landed an assistant’s job with Indiana in July.

“I’ve never had a problem with the hiring of Mike Brown or anything like that,” Shaw said. “My only issue was the way I found out and I understand the nature of the business. I’ve been in the business for a long time.”

Shaw learned of Brown’s hiring last May from news reports rather than directly from the Lakers.

“In terms of moving on, the toughest part is packing up the family and the house and finding a school for the kids,” he continued. “Other than that everything is fine. When I look back on it, the entire time I was here, I was on a one-year contract.

“So, it never felt like there was a whole lot of security. It could have happened at any point, so I always kept that in perspective. I understand when a coach like Phil goes out and a new coach comes in, they want to bring their own people in or whatever else.

“I understand that part of it, so in terms of that it’s not hard to move on.”