Kobe endorses Shaw as Jackson’s replacement

Brian Shaw, right, is in his sixth full season on Phil Jackson's staff with the Lakers

PORTLAND, Ore. – With Phil Jackson expected to retire after this season, Kobe Bryant(notes) already knows who he wants to replace the Los Angeles Lakers’ Hall of Fame coach: Brian Shaw.

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.

“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.”

Shaw won three NBA championships as a player with the Lakers and was a teammate of Bryant’s from 1999-2003 before retiring. The Oakland, Calif., native interviewed for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coaching job last offseason, but withdrew his candidacy before Byron Scott was hired. Prior to his assistant coaching duties, Shaw spent two seasons as a scout with the Lakers. The 14-year NBA veteran has never been an NBA head coach.

Shaw’s coaching contract with the Lakers has always been season-by-season and his current one-year deal runs through June 30. Jackson reiterated this week that he intends to retire after the season.

“I’m not commenting on the next season or anything about replacing Coach because it’s out of my control,” Shaw said. “I’m concentrating on this season and winning it all again.”

Bryant values Shaw’s experience with the Lakers.

“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. 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 ass kissers. Never have. I have a great deal of respect for him.”

Though Bryant wants Shaw to succeed Jackson, he said he won’t pressure Lakers management when team officials make the decision who to hire.

“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.”