According to ESPN.com, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson might turn his efforts towards prying Brian Shaw from the Denver Nuggets after missing out on Steve Kerr, who reached an agreement with the Golden State Warriors on May 15. Per ESPN:
Sources close to the process told ESPN.com that the most likely scenario, even after Jackson was snubbed by the only candidate he has considered for the position since taking the Knicks’ job in March, remains hiring a younger coach Jackson has worked with previously and can mentor…
Sources said Jackson also intends to explore whether the Denver Nuggets are in any way amenable to releasing Brian Shaw from his contract in exchange for some form of compensation. Shaw is a longtime Jackson favorite who, after missing out on numerous head-coaching jobs, just completed his first season with the Nuggets, posting a 36-46 record despite numerous injuries to front-line players.
But Shaw told the Denver Post on Thursday: “I’m not interested in doing anything other than what I’m doing right now.”
Had Shaw not taken Denver’s job last summer, sources say he would have been at the top of Jackson’s list with Kerr — and conceivably above Kerr — for the Knicks’ opening.
Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post has reiterated multiple times through direct quotes that Shaw is not interested in coaching a team other than the Denver Nuggets at the moment. Of course, quotes are just quotes. It’s actions that count in the NBA, and until Jackson has concluded his search and Brian Shaw remains a Denver Nugget, this situation is worth monitoring.
In other news, the precocious Alex Kennedy of BasketballInsiders.com is reporting the Denver Nuggets met with at least three players on the first day of the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago: Tyler Ennis, Shabazz Napier and Marcus Smart. Interestingly enough, all three of these players are point guards, and while the Nuggets may (likely) have interviewed other prospects on Thursday it is somewhat interesting these are the only names in connection with Denver after half the Combine has played out. Perhaps there’s something I’m missing?
Regardless, of the three players mentioned above, Smart appears to be the least likely for the Nuggets barring a trade, as he’s been a consensus top 10 pick for the last two years. However, if you’re purely talking fit, Smart is without question the best option for the Nuggets as he’s big guard (6-4, 230 pounds) who could play off the ball next to the diminutive Ty Lawson.
As of right now Ennis and Napier stand much better chances of landing with the Nuggets on draft night. Neither is projected to be a top 10 pick at the moment, so if the Nuggets do decide to go the point-guard route on June 26, Tim Connelly would likely have his choice between the two at pick 11.