Brian Shaw reiterated on Tuesday that he’s “happy” coaching in Denver and is looking forward to coaching the Nuggets next season.
“I said it when all the speculation first started coming out. And that’s all that it is is speculation. I’m happy where I am. I’m looking forward to coaching a healthy, full complement of players with the Nuggets next year and improving what we did,” Shaw told ESPN New York as he was leaving the NBA Draft Lottery in Manhattan. “[I] wish them well in what they’re doing but I’m happy where I am.”
Since Steve Kerr turned down the Knicks job to coach in Golden State, there has been widespread speculation that Knicks president Phil Jackson would target Shaw as his next head coach.
Shaw is currently under contract with the Nuggets.
ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein reported on Sunday that Jackson would not pursue Shaw because of the steep price it would cost the Knicks to extract Shaw from his contract.
Sources told Stein and Shelburne that Jackson is a big fan of Shaw, who coached under Jackson after playing for him in Los Angeles.
If Shaw didn’t take the gig with the Nuggets last summer, sources told Stein and Shelburne that Shaw would have been at the top of the Zen Master’s list for the Knicks’ opening -- conceivably above Kerr.
Now, Jackson will wait until the conclusion of the Thunder’s season to talk to Derek Fisher, who is believed to be the top Knicks’ candidate.
For what it’s worth, Shaw believes Jackson can get things turned around in New York.
“If anybody can do it, he can. He’s a basketball genius,” the coach said. “So I have every confidence in him that his magic will continue to work even in the role that he’s in right now.”
Kerr says “heart” was in Golden State: In his introductory press conference in Golden State on Tuesday, Steve Kerr said that his heart pulled him toward the Warriors.
Kerr last week accepted a five-year $25 million offer to coach the Warriors over the Knicks’ offer of four years and $20 million.
“To Phil Jackson's credit, he told me the day I sat down with the Warriors, he said you have to feel whatever you need to feel in your heart. And if that's to come to New York, great. If that means you're going to go there than that's important,” Kerr said. “But you have to make the decision based on your gut and your heart. And I felt it immediately with the Warriors. And that's the story in a nutshell, I guess.”
Kerr said he initially turned down the Warriors’ interview request because he was so deep into negotiations with the Knicks. That makes you wonder if the Knicks could have locker Kerr in with a large initial offer. Multiple reports stated that the Knicks’ initial offer to Kerr was for three years.
On Wednesday, Kerr noted how difficult it was to say no to Jackson, his mentor and longtime friend.
“In the end, I feel like I was choosing between two unbelievable opportunities. The Knicks, the brand speaks for itself. It's Phil Jackson. He’s been one of my mentors. The thought of him guiding me through my young coaching career was enticing,” Kerr said. “There were a lot of great things about the Knicks. He laid out a great plan I talked to Steve Mills, several people in the organization. I’m convinced Phil is going to make it work in New York. When I sat there with the Warriors, it just clicked on a lot of fonts.”
In a comment that could be interpreted as an indication that there is friction between Jackson and Knicks owner James Dolan, Kerr added this toward the end of his press confernece:
"The most important thing I’ve learned in sports is owner/GM/coach, that troika, that relationship between those three, is critical. The relationship between those three will determine how you get through the bumps (along the way).”
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