There were rumblings today that Phil Jackson prefers Shaw over Fisher as the next coach of the Knicks.
If Shaw didn’t take the gig with the Nuggets last summer, sources have told Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne that Shaw would have been at the top of Jackson’s list for the Knicks’ opening -- conceivably above Kerr.
But there are two roadblocks to the Knicks’ pursuit of Shaw:
1. He is under contract with the Nuggets so the Knicks would have to give Denver cash or draft picks to compensate them if they want to pluck Shaw from Denver.
2. It is unclear if Shaw would be willing to leave the Nuggets to work for Jackson and the Knicks.
Let’s address roadblock No. 1 first: We don’t know at this point what it would take to pry Shaw from Denver. The Knicks already are forfeiting their 2014 first-round pick to Orlando via Denver in the Carmelo Anthony trade. The next pick they can offer in a trade is their 2018 first-round pick.
According to Stein and Shelburne, New York fears it likely can't meet the Nuggets' demands for Shaw. The Knicks' lack of draft picks would appear to dull any hope of getting Shaw out of the last two years of his three-year deal. Shaw is making approximately $2 million per season.
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So, what about No. 2? Shaw told ESPN New York on Tuesday that he’s “happy” coaching the Nuggets, who went 36-46 last 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 said as he was leaving the NBA Draft Lottery in Manhattan. “[I] wish [the Knicks] well in what they’re doing but I’m happy where I am.”
So, based on what we know right now, the Knicks need to go through several hurdles to get Shaw to New York. That’s one reason why Fisher is believed to be the prohibitive favorite for the job at this point.