Editor’s note: This is a guess post from Justin Becker of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. You can follow the Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ Page, and for more NBA Rumors visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – a fantasy basketball blog.
The New York Knicks had a rough season, but they started to make moves near the end of the season. Overall, they ended the season 37-45 and missing the playoffs by one game to the Atlanta Hawks. They played fairly well in their division, winning 10 of their 16 meetings against them. As I said they ended the season on a good note, winning 16 of their last 21 meetings of the season.
They have a long offseason ahead of them. Near the end of the season, they made a very smart move by signing Phil Jackson as their President of Basketball Operations. The Knicks seemed to be a different team under him. Once the season ended, his first move was firing the whole coaching staff, including head coach Mike Woodson. Even more drama for the Knicks this offseason is with their star player Carmelo Anthony, who probably won’t re-sign with the team and enter free agency in search for a new home.
Ever since the season ended, they have been searching for the right candidate to take over the head coaching job. One of the favorites for the Knicks was Steve Kerr, but they whiffed on him when he signed with the Golden State Warriors. Phil Jackson is now forced to use his creativity to find a new replacement for Mike Woodson. Turns out that he isn’t even talking to someone who is jobless. He has turned to sticking his hands in another team’s cookie jar. That team being the Denver Nuggets.
Sources have reported that the Knicks are attempting to take head coach Brian Shaw from the Denver Nuggets after their failed attempt for Kerr. They reported that “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.” (Reported by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelbourne)
Sources have also reported that Brian Shaw himself was attempting to find a way out of his contract with the Nuggets. However, that statement contradicts what Shaw said earlier:
“I have a job here in Denver that I’m happy with. Though the season didn’t turn out how any of us would have liked, I’m happy where I am, and I’m looking forward to coaching a full complement of healthy players. I’m not interested in doing anything than what I’m doing now.”
Taking a look at how the Knicks did this season, if Brian Shaw is looking for a better team to coach, then New York is any better off than Denver. (Denver missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003)
Honestly, what Shaw has in Denver is a good team. They have silently assembled one of the most peculiar payrolls in the NBA. However, they are a young team with a lot of talent. The main reason they didn’t do as planned is because they were hit with a plethora of injuries that really set them back. In the event that Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, J.J. Hickson, Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson all return healthy next season, the Nuggets could easily find themselves heating up in the West. The West has become the tougher of the two conferences, but they have what it takes to make a lot of noise and return to the playoffs again. In addition, ironically, the Nuggets own the rights to the New York Knicks’ lottery pick in this year’s draft, so the fact that Shaw would want out is hard to believe.
All that aside, the fact that Phil Jackson is pursuing Brian Shaw isn’t much of a surprise, either. Sources have said that Jackson is looking for a young coach that he has worked with in the past. Shaw has a lot of experience under Jackson, both as a player and as an Assistant Coach with the Lakers. That says that Shaw is familiar with the triangle offense, which is hard to find. It’s implied that Jackson would like to bring that triangle offense to New York next season, which rarely works well with coaches who don’t have experience with it. (D’Antioni in Los Angeles)
However, Shaw could easily be considered a long shot for New York. As the report above said, the Knicks would have to compensate Denver for taking their coach. With that being said, who knows what they would ask for him or if New York would even be able to afford it. There are too many options out there for Jackson to look at and this one just seems too far of a reach. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it seems unlikely.
Such options Jackson is allegedly considering are Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher, who played under Phil Jackson in Los Angeles, Kurt Rambis, Bill Cartwright, Jim Cleamons and the head coach of Iowa State Fred Hoiberg. In addition, it’s been reported that the Knicks have also met with Mike Dunleavy, saying it “wasn’t formal interview w/ Phil Jackson but he’s hopeful preliminary meeting leads to another sitdown.”
When pursuing Steve Kerr, they firmly though they had a new head coach. They didn’t think they would need to search anywhere else. After Jackson saw his first choice choose a different team, hopefully Phil Jackson will keep his preferences a little closer to the vest this time around. If Jackson and the Knicks want to avoid any more embarrassment in their search, it’s best that they forget about Shaw before their cookie-jar-rummaging turns into a negative look for the team and expectations for next season get crushed once again. Striking out on Steve Kerr was humiliating for Phil, since he was the only real candidate to succeed the fired Woodson.
All that being said, it’s still possible they could get that home run and find a great coach that can take them back to greatness. There are plenty of options out there and they just need to stick their hands in the right cookie jar. Safe to say, Shaw’s cookie jar should stay untouched.