As some of you recall....near the end of June before free agency, but after the bungled draft I advocated that the Nuggets clean the slate in the front office and start anew.
All that was said in that column applies even now. However TIMING can be fickle. And the timing of the moves the Nuggets made yesterday leaves me seriously questioning the team's immediate future
There are several reasons why this move concerns me:
1. Mark Warkentein was in the "Melo Corner" of the front office. It's no secret to reveal this. Everyone knows that Wark had two players he "protected" Melo and JR. With Wark gone I think it's safe to say we can kiss JR goodbye. But what does that mean for Carmelo Anthony? Well, what's left in the front office is Bret Bearup, who was more in line with the Rex Chapman (trade Melo now before it becomes a problem) camp.....and Josh Kroenke who no one knows what he's thinking beyond being friends with Linas Kleiza. This move puts in to question Melo's contract status and gives pause to people who want Melo to stay. Granted, Melo hasn't said a damn thing. Which freaks people out in Denver. The wait and see with Carmelo Anthony just got more serious.
2. Timing: While it's not unusual to clean house, it IS unusual to clean house after the draft and the Free Agency signing period. Why let a lame duck front office go through the draft preparations (admittedly mishandled by Chapman) and Free Agency when a cleaning of house is coming. We all knew that Rex and Wark were up for renewal at the end of this month....the best time to let them go is immediately after the season. Now, all the moves, or rather LACK of moves are called in to question. Did this lame duck status contribute to the Nuggets inability to sign free agents to the Mid Level Exception? Who knows? Did this lame duck status cause Rex Chapman to try moves out of apparent desperation during the draft (trying to trade Kenyon.....failing to buy out Caracter) and also contribute to his horrifically pathetic press conference afterword? Again....who knows?
3. Stan Kroenke's purchase of the Rams has a question mark: There was an article in the Denver Business Journal a couple days ago detailing Stan Kroenke's bid to buy the St. Louis Rams has hit a snag
In this article it talks about how Kroenke's plan to buy the Rams in pieces over a period of years with interest backloaded into each piece has troubled some NFL owners who already feel they have bent over backward to accommodate Kroenke's desire to sell the Nuggets and Avs to family members while still guaranteeing cost overruns himself which would, in effect, keep him as owner of the Denver Nuggets. If the NFL turns the screws on Stan Kroenke, something tells me he wouldn't hesitate to sell the Nuggets outright to a third party to guarantee the purchase of the more lucrative NFL product. I'd advise everyone to pay close attention to what happens with this. It is assumed that the NFL will cave to Kroenke's demands because they need stable ownership in St. Louis. This is not guaranteed however, and the longer this drags on the more question marks arise
What does this all mean. I'm not sure. I truly hope that Bearup and Josh Kroenke will make a solid hire (not Pritchard apparently. Not terribly sure why no one will hire him) so the Nuggets can start looking to the future. I was listening to Sandy Clough and a caller was detailing to him all the issues the Nuggets had, but one of the last things he said was, "The Nuggets won't be a terrible team next year, in fact they will be quite good" and this is most likely true. With all the shenanigans going on in the front office, the team will most likely win 50 games and get in to the playoffs...it's what happens next that has got everyone worried.