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The end of the Stan Kroenke era?

News came mid-way through this last week that Stan Kroenke has officially transferred ownership of the Denver Nuggets to his wife Ann Walton, with Josh Kroenke running both franchises. Does this, however mean that the looming specter of Stan is gone from the organization?

Time for Josh Kroenke to put his stamp on the Denver Nuggets
Time for Josh Kroenke to put his stamp on the Denver Nuggets
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

There's one thing I know that is true about Enos Stanley Kroenke that should make Denver Nuggets fans forever grateful that he purchased the franchise (along with the Colorado Avalanche and Pepsi Center) in July of 2000. If it wasn't for Kroenke stepping in and buying the team there is a very good chance the Nuggets could have been moved out of Denver. Kroenke committed to keep the Nuggets in Denver, at Pepsi Center, for 25 years as condition of purchase. The other Nuggets potential suitors didn't come close to that guarantee that year.

So, thank you Stan.

This week it was revealed that Kroenke has officially transferred ownership of the Nuggets, and the Avalanche to his wife Ann Walton Kroenke so that he can "officially" own the St. Louis Rams of the NFL (this transfer of sale was a condition of purchase all the way back in 2010). This is widely viewed as a major step in currying favor among NFL owners a segment of whom were concerned that Kroenke had yet to transfer ownership of the Denver sports teams to his son or wife and blew past a NFL-set deadline to sell/transfer in November of last year. A feather in the elder-Kroenke's cap to eventually move the Rams to a new multi-use stadium palace (built with private money) in Los Angeles. Now the road to Los Angeles for Stan Kroenke appears much more clear.

But what of the Denver Nuggets and their future? Well, it's clear and a bit confusing at the same time.

New owner Ann Walton Kroenke will likely have son Josh Kroenke to run the Nuggets, Avalanche and Rapids as usual. However, Stan Kroenke still owns Pepsi Center. A very little known fact is that Liberty Media ... one time Nuggets/Pepsi Center co-owner in the late 90's, has a minority stake in ownership of arena. If right of first refusal holds, it would be difficult for Kroenke to transfer ownership of the arena to his wife anyway without first offering the arena to Liberty. So the elder Kroenke retains ownership of Pepsi Center.

The umbrella company under which all of the Kroenke's Denver holdings have operated is known as Kroenke Sports Enterprises, hereafter known as KSE. It remains to be seen if Stan Kroenke has divested himself from the holding company or if he retains executive (ie: financial) influence. For all intents and purposes, team president Josh Kroenke should have the final say on team finances and other matters as Ann Walton Kroenke is widely expected to be a "hands off" owner.

However, the presence of Enos Stanley Kroenke will likely still be felt around Pepsi Center. It is essential that Josh Kroenke be given full financial and executive control of the KSE holdings and given autonomy to make decisions that will put the Denver Nuggets on the BEST possible course to compete at a high level in the NBA. Hopefully this transfer of ownership will be just another step that end.

Along those lines, here is Kroenke talking to our friend Les Shapiro and Woody Paige about the Nuggets on Wednesday.

The Nuggets have already improved the locker rooms (and I can't wait to get some CSG video of the new locker rooms, the outside looks stunning right now). Two seasons ago they brought in the state of the art scoreboard, and last season they improved the upholstery on the seats in Pepsi Center. There seems to be recognition that after 16 years Pepsi Center needed a boost. That is more encouraging that people know. Players talk and something like locker rooms and state of the art atmosphere DO get looked at by NBA players. Nuggets have lacked that for many years and seem to be catching on.

Also, 3D projection for introductions? I mean ... who can't dig that? Another thing to look forward to.

This is Josh Kroenke's time to put his stamp on the Nuggets and HOW they run as a franchise. I'm waiting anxiously to see what the future holds. More than just control of the pocket book ... we need to see positive vision trump perceived frugality. KSE's policies of waiting until their executives contracts are over to re-sign them is perplexing in the current sports world that demands you lock up your talent both on the court and off. The cautionary tale of Masai Ujiri SHOULD be a lesson to the KSE outfit ... but Tim Connelly sits without an extension. If anything Josh Kroenke needs to change, it's the policy of waiting until the last minute.

There's alot on the plate with KSE now that Stan is (presumably) out of the picture. What will this mean going forward?

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Reminder: Stiffs Night Out Season Kickoff 10/28

Please join us for the next Stiffs Night Out on Wednesday, October 28th at 6pm as the Nuggets take on the Rockets in Houston to kickoff the 2015-16 NBA season. The event will take place at Jake's Sports & Spirits at 3800 Walnut Street and Jake's will be serving happy hour drinks until 7pm and 50-cent wings all night long! We will also play Nuggets trivia for prizes, including Nuggets game tickets. See you on the 28th!

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