Once Steve Kerr decided to join the Golden State Warriors over the New York Knicks, it was uncertain what direction president Phil Jackson would take moving forward. Kerr was the frontrunner for the jobs without many candidates behind him, but Jackson may be angling to bring in a protege from his coaching staff in Los Angeles.
Brian Shaw was thought to be the clear favorite to takeover for Jackson with the Lakers back in 2011. Shaw became a hot commodity on the open market as rookie head coach with his preference being to stay in Los Angeles, but the team had other ideas and went with Mike Brown instead.
Ultimately, Shaw got his first head coaching gig with the Denver Nuggets and seems content in the Mile High City. Although Shaw is happy in Denver, Jackson hasn’t given up hope that he’d be able to bring in him to New York as he’d prefer to hire him rather than Derek Fisher, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post:
Phil Jackson’s first preference in his post-Steve Kerr hunt isn’t Derek Fisher, but rather Brian Shaw, the Nuggets coach who keeps stating he is happy in Denver.
If Shaw was available, there’s little doubt that Jackson would’ve already hired him to become the new head coach of the Knicks. Shaw and Jackson created a lasting bond in Los Angeles and the former Lakers assistant coach has become highly respected around the league after a successful stint under Frank Vogel with the Indiana Pacers.
Despite Jackson’s reluctance to give up hope of luring Shaw to New York, it’d be safe to assume that Fisher is still the most likely option for the Knicks moving forward. Fisher may not have the coaching experience, but like Kerr, he could draw considerable interest once the season comes to an end for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Fisher has been linked to both the Lakers and the Knicks head coaching vacancies and may have a job waiting for him once his playing days come to an end this summer.
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