Shaw's potential was affirmed by the Pacers' pursuit of him. He had been invited to audition for a commentating role by ESPN and there was interest from other coaching staffs, but the Pacers were adamant.
"I already had this relationship with the guy who arguably should have been taking over the best team in the league and could have been the head coach the year before with Cleveland," said Vogel. "He's available, I have a friendship with him and Larry Bird has a friendship with him because they played together in Boston. So he immediately became my No. 1 target.
"It was a recruitment of him. I treated it like I was a college coach going after a player. I'm calling him and texting him and trying to sell him on our team and where we're going, and we're going to be a playoff team, and we're going to be one of the most exciting teams in the league over the next few years -- but we need someone like him to help us get there."
Vogel had actually worked under Shaw as an advance scout for the Lakers in 2005-06; he had been hired, at Shaw's urging, after Vogel and Jim O'Brien's staff had been fired by the 76ers in 2005. By 2007 Vogel had been reunited with O'Brien, who had been hired as head coach of the Pacers. When O'Brien was fired last January, Vogel was elevated to interim coach and led the Pacers to the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Bird named Vogel full-time coach last summer, and gave him crucial advice. "Right after the season when I brought Frank in I said, 'The first thing to do is don't be like most coaches and think you know everything. We need to get experience on the bench," said Bird. "And he went out and got some pretty good ones."
Vogel hired Boylen away from the Lakers and Cavaliers, who were highly interested in him.
At the same time he asked Shaw to take on a larger role than he had experienced in L.A. "I was able to sell him on the idea that it's best for him to be a head coach very soon, and his best path to get there was to stay in the game," said Vogel. "And this would be an opportunity where he would be my associate head coach and he and I would sort of coach this team together because I was a young coach that doesn't have it all figured out yet.''
He emphasized the optimism that is building around the Pacers, who challenged the Bulls throughout their first-round series last spring. The Pacers are young and deep and will have cap space when the lockout ends.
"And then I had to sell him on Indiana," said Vogel. "He's coming from L.A. and this is going to be a culture shock coming out here. He and his wife have two small children, and to me this is the greatest place in the country to raise a family -- the cost of living is great, the [low] crime rate, the school system is off the charts. Everything out here is family friendly, so when he came out to visit it was like a recruiting visit where I took him around town and showed him my neighborhood and all of the developments that he would be looking at in terms of places to live."
The Pacers will be installing a simplified low-post offense with read-and-react keys to bring their young players together.
"People would say is he really going to help you being a triangle guy?" said Vogel. "But he went to the Finals as a starting point guard on the Orlando Magic. He played in that Brian Hill system which was a simple system with not a lot of plays, just working on execution. He played in a lot of different systems before he ever touched the triangle.
"The triangle has so many good offensive concepts that make it a good offense to apply to our offense. The spacing they incorporate, the movement, the reads -- a lot of that stuff within the triangle is just basketball. And he's already made us a ton better because he's cleaned things up in my mind so much in how they taught things. And that has been very, very helpful."
Shaw insists he is ready to move onto a new approach, and that he is no longer angry with the way his Lakers' association ended. That's why he went out of his way to reach out to Brown during a coaching clinic put on by Tim Grgurich of the Mavericks in September.
"It was my first time really being around Mike Brown and I got an opportunity for five minutes to talk to him," said Shaw. "I felt there was this tension or awkwardness between us, and so I got an opportunity at the clinic to pull him aside. I think that so many people in L.A. anticipated or expected me to be the coach, and a lot of people wanted that. I wanted him to know that I really am OK with them hiring him. He got a lot of the negative vibe from folks not because of him and who he is and the way he coaches, but because of the way the situation went down with me. So my conversation with him was, I don't have any problems with you, I don't have any problems with the way coaches. I told him, you're more qualified in [a lot of areas].
"I told him, I just want you to know that everything is cool with me, and if there's any way at all that I can help you let me know. I have the pulse of this [Lakers] team better than anybody does, nobody knows them better than me. Anything that you need, if you're having a hard time reaching these guys, or you want to run something by me or bounce something off me, don't hesitate to call on me.'
"I offered that to him because I'm over it, I have relationships with a lot of the people in the organization and a lot of the people on that team. I want him to do well, I want the people that I know to do well and I want the fans there to give him a chance instead of coming down on him because they expected something different.
"So I told him that and it was strange. It was like a weight had lifted. It was like he took a deep breath, we hugged each other on the back, and he said, 'I really appreciate you saying that to me.' He texted me that evening that it was nice being around you the last couple days, it was nice getting to know you and I appreciate what you said to me.
"I really want the fans to give him that chance, and to not let the stuff that happened with me and the other people of the organization to put a damper on him and what he's going to bring to the organization going forward."