- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Brian Shaw had Kobe Bryant’s support, among others, to become the Los Angeles Lakers coach upon Phil Jackson’s retirement.

The Lakers bypassed their longtime assistant and went with Mike Brown. Shaw has moved on in a reunion of sorts.

The Indiana Pacers introduced Shaw on as their new associate head coach Wednesday. He will work alongside Pacers coach Frank Vogel, a man he knows from their days on Los Angeles’ staff together during the 2005-2006 season.

“We really established a special connection back then,” Shaw said. “A good friendship. We stayed in touch over the years.”

Shaw was considered a head coaching candidate during his time with the Lakers, and Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Derek Fisher publicly supported his bid to become Jackson’s successor. Shaw said he tempered his expectations.

“I understood all along that nothing was a slam dunk,” he said. “I didn’t expect for anything to be handed to me or given to me. I was very appreciative of the comments and the support that I got from out players during and after the season.”

Shaw is fine with the way things played out.

“I don’t have any hard feelings at all because things are changing there, and there’s an opportunity here that I’m excited about,” he said.

Shaw isn’t sure what his new title entails, but he appreciates it and considers it confirmation that he’s nearing his goal of becoming a head coach.

“I’m getting close, so I guess it’s a stamp that says I’m just about ready,” he said. “But to me, I’m just another assistant coach.”

Vogel said Shaw is more than that.

“He’s a guy that, quite frankly, I didn’t think I was going to be able to get,” he said. “He’s a guy that’s been in line to be a head coach for a number of years. I view him as having almost like a second head coach with me.”

Vogel said the hiring shows that the Pacers are moving in the right direction.

“There was interest in him around the league and he chose to come to Indiana,” he said. “It’s indicative of what we’re building here. People want to be a part of this team and this city, right now. It’s going to be a special era.”

Shaw said Indiana’s fans are knowledgeable, and he likes the idea of coaching in a place where basketball is the key attraction.

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