With the Denver Nuggets perception in the public eye becoming ever the worse, I think it's about time for erstwhile "people in charge" to say something to the fans.
This is becoming a joke.
Watching the Nuggets and the New Jersey Nets ruin the seasons of their respective teams isn't pretty. I'd say it's borderline embarrassing. Botched attempts at trades going all the way back to September of last year. Players hanging in limbo while leaks come out like a guy who has malaria. People wildly speculating about just about everything (me included). The cherry on top? Two teams, and agents (hello Leon Rose) going through trade talks without bothering to get an indication from the star player being traded. One Carmelo Anthony.
That is in the past now, and the Nuggets must pick up the pieces. However, what disturbs me the most is the Denver Nuggets have slowly crept back into the "we don't know who's in charge" morass that crippled them in the summer while communicating absolutely nothing to the fans. Leaving us to get our news from people who reside on the East Coast ... it's humiliating as a Nuggets fan. Meanwhile our team is once again regarded as a laughing stock, and all it took was the organization getting into the "Way Back Machine" and transporting the city of Denver back to the 90's.
Oh for the days of Carl Scheer.
How is the mess that we are left with the sole responsibility of our best player? Melo has made his own contribution to the mess by refusing (so far) to sign the $65 million extension he was offered in July and quite stubbornly wanting only to play for the Knicks (speculated). From that, the organization has a duty to conduct business in a professional manner and get what they can for Melo. This has been hurt by the perception that former owner Stan Kroenke is still pulling the strings, vetoing trades that were set up because the Nuggets didn't dump enough salary obligations on the New Jersey Nets. The fact that Kroenke's approval is even speculated is dangerous because Kroenke is not supposed to have any involvement in the business of the Denver Nuggets or Colorado Avalanche (according to NFL rules).
Where does that leave us? I think a simple press conference can go a long-way in easing the fears of Nuggets fans. Particularly since no one really has a clue about how the Nuggets will go forward when Melo is dealt. It's been speculated that the Nuggets will go into fire sale mode and keep only Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo, plus the two or three contracts they will have a hard time unloading ... Al Harrington and Chris Andersen. Even Nene Hilario is in limbo because the Nuggets are so focused on Melo. Even though Nene stated after last night's game that he would like to retire a Nugget sadly, considering the front office weirdness, who knows what's going to happen. AAA wasn't offered an extension. No one (including George Karl) seems to know what the heck is going on. Now is the time for some clarity from the top.
It doesn't have to be earth shattering. All I'm asking is for Masai Ujiri and Josh Kroenke to reconnect with Nuggets fans in a basic way. People feel as if the rug has been pulled from under them, and it's time to be reassured that there is, indeed, a plan going forward. People can surmise based on the amount of salaries that was speculated to be dumped in the Melo trade that the Nuggets are intending to do a complete rebuild (a la the Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder). Maybe once the Melo deal (if there is one) goes through we can get a better sense of the direction.
On a personal level, it worries me that there seems to be a Colorado Avalanche level of spending that's being projected (the Avs were literally FORCED under league rules to spend up to the cap floor on salary). I don't need to tell Denver Stiffs readers that you can't run an NHL and NBA team the very same way, mostly because the NHL has a legit minor league system that can develop talent. The NBA has the D-League where they stick the scrubs. If this is the Nuggets future, color me frightened. We will deal with this subject at a later time though. In the NBA, often times, it requires plenty of luck (ie: Joe Dumars selecting Darko Milicic at the second pick in the 2003 draft and leaving Melo to the Nuggets).
One of the reasons Josh McDaniels lost the Denver Broncos fans is because he separated the team from the fans. A wall of silence separated the Broncos organization from even the media in this town (which John Elway has gone out of his way to correct by Tweeting quite frequently). While the Broncos are definitely in a league of their own in terms of loyalty in Denver, I've always argued that the Nuggets came second because of the longevity in this town. Josh McDaniels lost the fans from the beginning. The same, I fear, is happening with the Nuggets. We don't get updates. We don't see press conferences. Meanwhile it's left to coach Karl and Melo to deal with the media's questions.
All I'm asking, Masai and Josh, is for you to reconnect with the city of Denver. Give us a clue. Don't leave some of the most loyal fans in Denver twisting in the breeze. We feel the organization stands at the edge of a cliff without the man who made basketball relevant in Denver again. Give us a sign that we aren't going to plummet off the edge.