Nuggets hire Brian Shaw as coach

Updated: June 25, 2013, 3:16 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Brian Shaw was hired as the coach of the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, securing his first NBA head-coaching job after nearly a decade as an assistant.

Shaw confirmed he had been hired by Denver in an interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne.

"I'm so appreciative for the opportunity to be able to lead this team and for the faith that [Nuggets team president] Josh Kroenke and [general manager] Tim Connelly have put in me," Shaw told Shelburne. "It's been a long time coming. I've been prepared by the best of the best for a long time. I'm just really looking forward to it."

Shaw will replace George Karl, the NBA's reigning Coach of the Year who led the Nuggets to a 57-win regular season but was fired following Denver's opening-round elimination in the playoffs.

"I look at the positive things that they did, the things they did well under George Karl, and try to continue to build on those," Shaw said. "And in some of the areas where they could use improvement, try to improve in those areas. I want to put my own spin on things, push the right buttons and find the right combinations."

The Denver Post reported earlier Monday that the Nuggets agreed to hire Shaw, one of the more coveted coaching candidates this offseason.

Citing a league source, the Post reported that the Nuggets chose Shaw over former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, who was Denver's other top candidate.

Shaw, 47, has never held a head-coaching position in the NBA. After six seasons as an assistant to Phil Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaw spent the past two seasons as an associate head coach with the Indiana Pacers.

Since leaving Jackson's staff, Shaw has interviewed with the Lakers, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers. He'd been considered the front-runner for both the Nets and Clippers jobs this season, only to have a flashier candidate -- Jason Kidd in Brooklyn and Doc Rivers in Los Angeles -- overtake him.

"There's no hard feelings," Shaw said. "Situations just don't work out. You just have to look at it and say it wasn't my time, or it wasn't the right situation. I don't have any hard feelings, I learned lessons along the way. I'm a pretty patient person by nature anyway, so although it did test my patience at times, it turned out the way it [was] supposed to be and I'm happy to be in Denver. I'm just looking forward to getting started."

Shaw spent the final four seasons of his 14-year playing career as a member of Jackson's Lakers, helping Los Angeles win three consecutive NBA titles beginning in 2000. He also was an assistant under Jackson on the Lakers' championship teams in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Shaw told Shelburne that he still speaks regularly with Jackson.

"We talk on a regular basis, and I always value his advice," Shaw said. "There have been some situations over the years that he kind of warned against, and there have been other situations where he weighed in and said this would be a good situation.

"But the main thing was just, 'Be true to who you are and trust your instincts.' As a player for him and a coach for him, that was something he always said to me. I took that to heart. It's nice to be able to check in with someone like him all the time and get their advice."

One thing Shaw will not do, however, is run the Triangle offense, the hallmark of Jackson's teams.

"Of all the years I played, I only played in the Triangle the last four years, and obviously I coached in that system under Phil," Shaw said. "But in all the other years I was exposed to a lot of different systems. So no, I won't be coming in and bringing the Triangle to Denver."

ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne and ESPN's Chris Broussard contributed to this report.