Hunt named interim coach after Nuggets fire Brian Shaw

The Denver Nuggets fired head coach Brian Shaw Tuesday.

Shaw was 20-39 this season with the Nuggets, who began the day seven games out of last place in the Western Conference and 12 1/2 games out of the eighth playoff spot in the conference.

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Shaw was 56-85 as head coach of the Nuggets.

Melvin Hunt was named interim head coach after five seasons as an assistant coach with the Nuggets.

"I want to sincerely thank Brian for his time with our organization," said Nuggets executive vice president Tim Connelly. "You won't find a better guy than Brian and he is one of the brightest basketball minds I've ever been around. Unfortunately things didn't go as we hoped, but we know with his basketball acumen that he has a very bright future ahead of him."

Shaw came under fire well before this week, but his comments that his team was a "laughing stock" after Monday's practice drew national attention.

The Nuggets on Friday night broke a huddle with a chant of "1-2-3 ... six weeks." Shaw said it was not a reference to the amount of time left in the season but to a home losing streak, not a signal that the team had given up on the 2014-15 season.

The 48-year-old who played for and coached with Phil Jackson was a hot coaching candidate when the Nuggets handed him the keys to a playoff team before the 2013 season.

Denver missed the playoffs in his first season with a 36-46 record.

"He is a champion and a gentleman and I wish him nothing but the best for himself and his family moving forward," Connelly said. "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 a first-round draft pick in 1988 and played in the NBA for 14 seasons with the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers.


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