Brian Shaw would be Knicks president Phil Jackson‘s first choice to coach the team if he could somehow find a way to shake him loose from the Nuggets job, and Jackson hasn’t given up hope of managing to do so, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post. Shaw nonetheless reiterated his commitment to Denver on Tuesday, and a report from earlier this week indicated that the Knicks worry they won’t be able to meet the Nuggets’ demands for compensation if they were to let Shaw out of his contract, which runs two more years.
Jackson would prefer Shaw to Derek Fisher, but the executive would be even more motivated to find a way to land Shaw if he can’t lure Fisher, Berman suggests. Fisher won’t speak with the Knicks until he’s done playing for the Thunder this season, and Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks says the 39-year-old hasn’t ruled out continuing to play next season, as Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote this weekend. That jibes with Wednesday’s report that there’s a legitimate possibility that Fisher will re-sign with the Thunder as a player and serve as a de facto assistant coach as he sits on the bench. Fisher is also a Lakers coaching candidate, and Berman, who’s pointed to concern about a bidding war between the Knicks and Lakers over the longtime Kobe Bryant teammate, raises the notion that the Lakers would give Fisher a front office role rather than the coaching job.
Berman also mentions previously reported candidate Tyronn Lue as a fallback option for the Knicks, noting that Lue is friends with Carmelo Anthony, who intends to opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer. Mark Jackson, Mike Dunleavy, Kurt Rambis, Jim Cleamons, Nate McMillan, Fred Hoiberg and Luke Walton are other candidates rumored to be on the Knicks radar in the aftermath of Golden State’s hiring of Steve Kerr.
The Knicks are light on draft picks and can’t give up more than $3.2MM in cash in trades between now and June 30th, and the NBA doesn’t allow teams to give up players as compensation for hiring coaches under contract with other teams. Jackson has planned to trade cash for a draft pick, so that would further reduce the Knicks’ flexibility in prying Shaw from the Nuggets, unless they intend to wait to do so until July, when teams will have a fresh pot of $3.3MM in cash to use in trades.