Steve Kerr’s decision to sign on as the new head coach of the Golden State Warriors has forced New York Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson to explore other options. Denver Nuggets leading man Brian Shaw is reportedly a target, per Marc Berman of the New York Post, but it doesn’t appear as if he plans to leave the Mile High City anytime soon.
“Brian has said publicly—and privately to us—that his desire is to be here, and we feel strongly about him as our coach,” Nuggets president Josh Kroenke said, per Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. “I don’t foresee a scenario or circumstance where he’s going to be anywhere but with the Nuggets next season.”
That stance from Kroenke echoes a report from The Denver Post. According to Christopher Dempsey, Shaw said the following earlier this month:
I have a job here in Denver that I’m happy with. Though the season didn’t turn out how any of us would have liked, I’m happy where I am, and I’m looking forward to coaching a full complement of healthy players. I’m not interested in doing anything than what I’m doing now.
The Nuggets suffered through a multitude of injuries during the 2013-14 campaign (Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, Nate Robinson and others). They finished 10 games under .500 as a result: 36-46, 11th place in the Western Conference.
Jackson holds plenty of mystique as a 13-time NBA champion—two as a player, 11 as a coach. Still, it doesn’t seem likely that his past connections with Shaw will lure the 48-year-old coach away from Denver.
Shaw played for Jackson as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and coached as part of his staff after retiring. He has a history with the Zen Master, but that certainly doesn’t mean he’d bolt for New York at the drop of a hat.
According to The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla, Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly says Shaw will be coaching in Colorado long-term.
That does not mean the Western Conference franchise is free from scrutiny, however.
The coaching position in Denver—unlike the situation for numerous teams around the NBA—appears to be set in stone for 2014-15. Nevertheless, the tangible roster may be poised for a shakeup after a disappointing, lottery-bound finish.
Kiszla, for instance, advocated for Denver’s front office to explore blockbuster deals this summer. He suggested making a play for the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft—a luxury held by the Cleveland Cavaliers, again—and targeting Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love via trade.
“The Nuggets had a 1.5 percent chance in the lottery to get lucky and land the top pick,” Kiszla wrote. “If Connelly can’t put together a trade package that has more than a 1.5 percent shot of persuading the Cavs to trade away the top choice, then he’s wasting his time as GM.”
Denver is attempting to get back to the playoffs after a setback in 2013-14. Searching for a third coach in as many years certainly wouldn't be an ideal outlook, especially for an organization looking to establish a new identity.
Jackson may not have the power to coax Shaw away from his current situation, but Denver’s coach has yet to prove himself after a lackluster first year at the helm.
Getting the team healthy will help, but the Nuggets need more than a desirable coach to contend in a talent-laden conference.