This is all happening in layers. Sunday will not be the first time Brian Shaw returns to Los Angeles where he played and coached and was part of NBA title teams.

No he has been back a couple of times with the Indiana Pacers.

"And won both times there" he said with a laugh.

But those were as an assistant coach.

This time? This time he's in the driver's seat as the Nuggets' head coach. The schedule makers must have snickered while making his first two games a pair of exhibition games against the Lakers. The final and most important layer returning as head coach in the regular season on Jan. 5.

Had things turned out differently two years ago the Nuggets could be traveling to face Shaw and the Lakers rather than coming to town with him. But not even job endorsements from Phil Jackson Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson could land him the Lakers' job.
The plan apparently was L.A.-to-Indiana-to-Denver and his first NBA head coaching job.

"Regardless of how it ended I don't have any regrets" Shaw said. "Those were some of the best times that I experienced. I will always cherish them."

Asked if there were any hard feelings lingering now two years after being passed over for the head coaching job with the Lakers after Jackson's retirement in 2011 Shaw said: "No no. You know it's the nature of the business. I found that out pretty quickly. I preach to our players to get on to the next play; let that last play go and I try to do the same thing too. Every decision is not my decision. It's not going to work out the way I want it to work out. So I've just got to move on."

Shaw not only moved on he also flourished with the Pacers. Indiana coach Frank Vogel was big on giving his assistants a significant voice. Shaw ran with that responsibility. The Pacers' success during his two years there vaulted him into a select group of "next in line" for a head coaching job.