With a 20-33 record and on the verge of missing the playoffs for the second straight season, the Nuggets are one of the league's most active teams heading into Thursday's trade deadline.
Sources say the club's desperation is illustrated by its willingness to move Lawson, its leader in scoring (16.9 points per game), assists (10.1) and steals (1.3).
Despite Lawson's production, he and Shaw have had trouble getting on the same page, and sources say Shaw would prefer to trade him for Hill because Hill can play at both a fast and slow tempo and is a strong defender. While an assistant coach in Indiana from 2011 to '13, Shaw mentored Hill and grew close to him.
"Brian loves George," said a league executive who is close to Shaw.
It is not clear whether Indiana is willing to part with Hill in a trade that would feature Lawson, but the Pacers' front office, led by Larry Bird, was high on Lawson when he entered the 2009 draft out of North Carolina. The Pacers considered taking Lawson with the 13th pick but instead chose his college teammate Tyler Hansbrough.
The Boston Celtics also are interested in Lawson, according to sources.
Lawson missed Wednesday's Nuggets practice in Denver, the team's first since the All-Star break, because of what he called "derailed" travel plans. Shaw said he will look into Lawson's reason before deciding whether discipline is warranted, and added that holding Lawson out of the starting lineup Friday against Milwaukee is a possibility.
Lawson took to Instagram to address his absence, posting a photo and this explanation: "Travel plans got derailed ....but I'm always ready to go war with my bros... I know the season hasn't gone the we all wanted to but I'm a nugget until the day I die."
In addition to Lawson, the Nuggets are looking to move several other players. They've had extensive talks with clubs about Arron Afflalo, who many league executives believe will be dealt to Portland, Wilson Chandler and Jameer Nelson. They also have tried to move J.J. Hickson and JaVale McGee but have found no takers thus far.
Shaw, in his second season in Denver, is already rumored to be on the hot seat. He admittedly has had trouble getting through to the players on this year's roster, and some league executives believe that is a major reason the Nuggets are trying to move so many of their players.