The Denver Nuggets brought in Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw to replace George Karl, making him the sixth first-time coach hired in the National Basketball Association this offseason.
Shaw, 47, won three NBA championships during his 14-year playing career and two more during seven seasons as an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers under coach Phil Jackson. He spent the past two seasons as associate head coach of the Pacers, who this year reached the Eastern Conference finals, and helped Paul George and Roy Hibbert develop into All-Stars.
Shaw takes over a Nuggets team that had the fourth-best record in the NBA last season at 57-25 before losing to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.
“It’s a talented roster with a great foundation,” Shaw said in a statement. “As a player and a coach, my primary goal has always been to win a championship.”
Shaw joins Jason Kidd of the Brooklyn Nets, Jeff Hornacek of the Phoenix Suns, Michael Malone of the Sacramento Kings, Steve Clifford of the Charlotte Bobcats and Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks as first-time NBA coaches hired this offseason. Dave Joerger would become the seventh, as the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to promote their six-year assistant to replace Lionel Hollins, according to ESPN.
“I was extremely impressed with Brian’s intelligence, knowledge of the game and intangible qualities, both when he played for me and when he was an assistant coach on my staff,” Jackson said in comments distributed by the Nuggets. “He’s one of the brightest young coaches in the game and has a great future. I commend the Nuggets for recognizing this and for giving him this opportunity.”
Karl, 62, was fired by the Nuggets this month after being named the NBA’s coach of the year this season.
Karl, who had one year left on his contract, guided the Nuggets to nine straight playoff appearances and 423 wins, the second most in team history behind Doug Moe (432). Team owners were unwilling to commit to a contract extension sought by Karl, Yahoo Sports has reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the situation.
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