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Congratulations, Mark Warkentien...

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The Nuggets Vice President of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien - a former Stiff List regular - has been named as the NBA's Executive of the Year. It's well deserved but should be shared with the other two members of the Nuggets GM Troika, Bret Bearup and Rex Chapman. (I guess the downside of having multiple executives is only one can receive this award.)

The Nuggets are winning this award because the Marcus Camby trade proved to be fortuitous (even though I still maintain they could have fleeced someone for a first round pick for Camby), J.R. Smith was re-signed to a reasonable contract, the league minimum signings of Dahntay Jones and Chris "Birdman" Andersen and the trade for Renaldo Balkman were absolute steals and, of course, the home run of home runs: trading Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups, which wouldn't have been possible with Camby's contract on the books.

The Nuggets organization also deserves credit for the trade that wasn't made to move Carmelo Anthony, even though ESPN.com reported that Nuggets head coach George Karl allegedly wanted Melo traded.

Readers of this blog know that I've been very tough on Warkentien, Bearup and Chapman in the past. Up and until this season, Denver Stiffs felt that Warkentien in particular - having been the assistant GM in Portland during the "Jailblazers" era - was creating Jailblazers 2.0 in Denver with an expensive team chock full of big egos and bad character. (And don't forget the Zach Randolph rumors that, had that deal come to fruition, would have set this franchise back five to ten years).

Maybe Wark pays attention to this blog and the fans (very,very doubtful) or maybe it was just a matter of dollars and sense and wins and losses (much more likely), but within just two seasons he's helped to transform the Nuggets from an expensive, selfish, playoff loser that the fans couldn't root for into an inexpensive, blue collar and playoff winner that has become the darling of Denver professional sports.

Denver Stiffs will criticize when it's warranted and congratulate when it's earned. And Mark Warkentien, Bret Bearup and Rex Chapman deserve our congratulations. Now if only they would re-sign the Birdman...