For the past few offseasons the Nuggets front office has been lauded for cutting cost while keeping the team competitive. The old regime took the team all the way to the Western Conference Finals, but the band of Mark Warkentien, Rex Chapman, and Bret Bearup has broken up. Only Bearup remains. Now the wait begins to see what direction Stan or Josh Kroenke will take the Nuggets.
Thank you to reader Agaliarept for throwing up the news that Warkentien and Chapman wont be back.
This post might not be done before the stroke of midnight, so forgive me if my use of the word "tonight" doesn't match the time of the post. I wasted an hour watching the first episode of The Real World: New Orleans ... I'm a sucker for bad television.
Bad (trashy) TV can draw viewers by the couchload, just as bad news about our favorite team lights up the community here on Denver Stiffs.
Did I just call letting Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman go bad news? I guess it depends on how you look at it.
Do you like stability or do you like an operation that keeps pushing for the best combination?
With all the talk recently about LeBron James, I'm not sure he was ever planning on going back to Cleveland. But the Cavaliers decided to stick by their head coach Mike Brown and their general manager Danny Ferry until the bitter end and it seems that only after they realized they lost James that they started cleaning house and tried to show him that they were willing to move in a different direction.
Well, we don't know what the motives were behind letting Warkentien and Chapman walk, but we do know the Nuggets want to head in a different direction and this move will allow them to do exactly that.
The intrawebs have been abuzz with stories and rumors and all the sky is falling talk has certainly livened things up here. Some good reads so far: Chris Tomasson, Pat Graham, and Benjamin Hochman talking with coach Karl and with Chapman.
What we can take away thus far ... Chapman is handling things graciously, Warkentien has declined comment, Graham mentions that Josh Kroenke could see a bigger role, and Hochman quotes Karl saying he'd like some input on the next hire.
Tomasson went as far as discussing some possible replacements:
One could be Washington vice president of basketball administration Tommy Sheppard, who was highly respected as a Nuggets executive before leaving for the Wizards in 2003. Other names having been thrown out are Toronto assistant general manager Masai Ujiri, a former Nuggets scout, and former Phoenix executive David Griffin.
The popular name being tossed around by fans is that of former Portland Trail Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard. Ben Golliver of Blazersedge had a great piece on Pritchard's firing as well as a link to the letter Pritchard wrote to the fans thanking them for his time in Portland.
Pritchard's hiring wouldn't be the first the Nuggets poached from Portland as we all know Wark also spent time in Portland, infamously constructing the "Jailblazers." But a big name like Pritchard also carries with it expectations. Are the Nuggets looking for a guy to come in and run the show or are they looking for a guy to come in and be part of a team?
The Nuggets have been using a committee of sorts, at least publicly, to make their decisions. We have been lead to believe that Wark, Chapman, and Bearup all worked together in some fashion to make personnel moves. Well, Bearup is still around and Josh Kroenke, the Vice President of Team Development, is being rumored to perhaps taking an even larger role with the team. I believe the hiring of Pritchard is probably far-fetched as it would appear the Nuggets are looking for someone to fit into a team and not somebody to come in and run the show.
Pritchard was part of a team in Portland and some thought that owner Paul Allen let him go because he was getting a little too much credit for the teams' moves. Publically, the hiring of Pritchard would look like Denver was bringing in a big gun, but behind the scenes he might be more than willing to fit into a system.
Chris Paul recently met with his new general manager Dell Demps and head coach Monty Williams and publically things look to be quiet for now in New Orleans. The rumor mill is also abuzz thanks to Alex Kennedy of Hoops World as he stated via Twitter that his sources are telling him Melo will be testing free agency. But Chris Tomasson has been reporting since June that Melo may wait a year to sign the extension until he knows more about the team's future.
The future is certainly a little cloudy for the Nuggets right now. The team let Warkentien and Chapman run things this summer, while Kroenke may have known he was going to let them go. A pretty odd move by the Nuggets to let a lame-duck front office handle things in an important offseason. The fans will surely point to the failure to get into the draft on a couple of guys who each had one foot out the door. The last moves made by the three-headed monster ... signing Al Harrington and Shelden Williams.
Whatever moves made by the Nuggets now will have a major impact on the future of the franchise and will dictate what happens with Carmelo Anthony. We will all be heading in a new direction and we will start heading there now.
Photo courtesy of AP Photos Nati Harnik