The team made it official a short time after the initial reports were released.
“On behalf of everyone in the Denver Nuggets organization, I would personally like to thank Brian for his services the past two seasons in Denver,” General Manager Tim Connelly said via a team-issued statement. “He is a champion and a gentleman and I wish him nothing but the best for himself and his family moving forward. Since we purchased the franchise in 2000 we have constantly strived to field a competitive team, culminating in 10 straight playoff appearances and a franchise record 57 wins in the 2012-13 regular season. Expectations have been raised and we want more.
“This season our management staff has remained patient and supportive as decisions of this nature are never taken lightly. Patience is encouraged, as long as the organization continues to show progress toward a greater goal. However, competing for championships is our goal, and therefore we decided to make this decision now and look forward to conducting an extensive head coaching search upon the season’s conclusion. This has been a trying season for all of us, and we appreciate Nuggets fans continued faith and patience as we build our proud organization back to the NBA’s elite.”
Shaw was hired in Denver in advance of the 2013-14 campaign, but with a combined record of 56-85 (including a mark of 20-39 this year), he wouldn’t be allowed make it through his second full season.
The only thing surprising about the move is the timing, but perhaps it couldn’t have been helped. The players were recently reported to be publicly counting down the days remaining in their dismal regular season, which is an indication that they had quit on their head coach, and that the locker room was lost.
Shaw also had reportedly clashed with the team’s best player in Ty Lawson more than once, according to Zach Lowe of Grantland.
Interestingly enough, the Nuggets had a Hall of Fame head coach in place in George Karl, but fired him after a 57-win regular season due to differences of opinion in how the minutes should have been distributed, particularly in terms of developing the younger players on the roster.
Now, the franchise has hit the reset button, and must essentially start from scratch.
Assistant coach Melvin Hunt will get the nod as Shaw’s interim replacement.