After weeks of speculation over New York Knicks president Phil Jackson's intrigue with luring Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw to Madison Square Garden, Denver president Josh Kroenke made it clear to Yahoo Sports on Thursday night: It isn't happening.
"Brian has said publicly – and privately to us – that his desire is to be here, and we feel strongly about him as our coach," Kroenke told Yahoo Sports. "I don't foresee a scenario or circumstance where he's going to be anywhere but with the Nuggets next season."
The Knicks haven't reached out for permission to speak with Shaw, who went 36-46 in an injury-plagued first season as coach of the Nuggets. Denver is expected to return several key players from serious injuries next year, including Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee and Nate Robinson.
The elimination of Shaw, a long-time Jackson assistant and player with the Los Angeles Lakers, keeps Oklahoma City guard Derek Fisher as the frontrunner for the Knicks job, league sources said. Jackson is waiting for the Thunder's season to end to discuss the opening with Fisher, who has a strong interest in becoming a head coach next season, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Jackson wants a coach whom he can mold and who will run his famed triangle offense.
Fisher remains a candidate with the Lakers, but management is increasingly leaning toward the hiring of a candidate with head-coaching experience, sources said. The Lakers have interviewed Mike Dunleavy and Byron Scott, two former head coaches who have ties to the organization. It is very likely Fisher will be afforded an interview with the Lakers if the Thunder's season ends within the parameters of the search, but it is becoming clearer his best chance of coaching in the NBA next season will be under Jackson with the Knicks.