Coach Grg, Balkman Loses a Friend and More Melo

The Indian Summer of Carmelo has been dominating the news recently, and before we get to the current scuttlebutt, there are other important happenings going on with the Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets will enter camp without George Karl’s right hand man Tim Grgurich.  I will not pretend to know all of the ways Grgurich helped Denver.  He had a great defensive mind and is a tremendous teacher.  Perhaps more importantly, having been Karl’s right hand man in Seattle as well as Denver, the two friends had the kind of history that would allow Grgurich to be completely open and honest with Karl.  Will the quiet Adrian Dantley have the courage to speak up when necessary, and will Karl respect him enough to listen if he does?

The fact is with Mark Warkentien and now Grgurich leaving the team the Nuggets have lost around 60 years of institutional knowledge.  And I am not talking about the kind of institution David Kahn belongs in.

I have no idea why Coby Karl is not a rotation player in the NBA.  There must be something I am missing because Karl is heading back to Spain to play for CB Granada of the ACB league.  Coby will be playing with some familiar names such as Rob Kurz who has bounced around the NBA and D-League after departing Notre Dame, Reece Gaines a former Louisville star who was drafted by the Magic in 2003 and was traded to Houston in the Tracy McGrady deal, but has played mostly in Europe over the past five seasons.  Yaroslav Korolev, the former lottery pick by the Clippers is also on the team.  Grenada was a middle of the pack team and hopefully Coby will get some good experience and finally get his shot for some significant playing time in the NBA in 2011-12.

Renaldo Balkman was very close with Kenny McKinley, the Denver Broncos receiver who apparently took his own life on September 20.  The two met as fellow athletes at the University of South Carolina in 2005.  Aaron Lopez recorded some of Balkman’s thoughts on his friend at

When McKinley got drafted by the Denver Broncos on April 26, 2009, one of the first phone calls he received was from Balkman, who was thrilled to hear they would have a chance to reunite as pro athletes in the Mile High City.

“I called him immediately,” Balkman said. “I told him I’d try to find him a crib, whatever he wanted. I told him when he gets here, hit me up. Anything he needed, I was here for him. He always used to come over and hang out and chill with me.”

Preparing for his third season with the Nuggets, another phone call this week left Balkman devastated. He was playing a game of Madden on his X-Box when a friend called to ask if he had heard the news about a Broncos player named Kenny who had been found dead.

Had to be a different Kenny, Balkman thought. “Can’t be my homeboy,” he said.

Three days later, Balkman remains in disbelief as he tries to comprehend McKinley’s death.

Everyone who knew McKinley said that he was always smiling and Balkman described him as “Cool, always joyful.”  McKinley’s actions took everyone by surprise and all I can say is if you are struggling with suicidal feelings, please do not mask it and act like everything is alright.  Please be open and talk to someone you trust and most of all know that regardless of how dark things may seem, there are people in your life who care about you.

On the Carmelo trade front there are more disconcerting reports that came out today.  New Jersey Nets coach Avery Johnson proclaimed that Derrick Favors will not be included in a trade for Carmelo Anthony.  I do not think the Little General has a veto on personnel decisions so that is not the final word.  However, the news the trade that makes the most sense between Denver and New Jersey, Favors, Troy Murphy and Kris Humphries for Melo, is a no go is disappointing to hear.

I imagine if Mikhail Prokhorov decides he wants Carmelo, Favors could become available it just will not happen anytime soon.

The Warriors may be interested in making a pitch for Carmelo, even if he is not signed to an extension as part of the deal.  The flip side of that news is Stephen Curry, the only player worth trading Carmelo for is off limits so who cares?  The Warriors would be willing to use Melo as a one year rental to get out from under the contracts of Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins, but in my opinion Denver would almost be better off letting Melo walk.

Al Iannazzone of lays out the ideal scenario for the Nets which would be acquire Carmelo without parting with Favors and then sign or trade for Chris Paul All I can say is, “good luck with that.”

Sam Amick at Fanhouse says that Daid Kahn just might be crazy enough to work out a trade for Carmelo with players like Michael Beasley, Ricky Rubio and possibly even Kevin Love as the center pieces in the deal.  I am a little giddy right now at the thought of Love throwing his beautiful, dart like outlet passes to Ty Lawson.

One tidbit Amick shares that is not so encouraging is Denver might be willing to do a deal with the Rockets where Luis Scola is the featured player coming to Denver.  I like Scola, I like him a lot, but if he is the key piece in a trade involving Carmelo I may quit writing about the Nuggets.  Hey, I see you cheering over there.  You better stop.

The following two tabs change content below.
  • Victor

    Looks like Melo will be goin to the Nets if he is willing to sign the extension

  • DH

    With the talk of an impending trade with NJ/Charlotte/Utah, I’m not sure why Jeremy hasn’t posted an article yet. But I can’t wait anymore. Let’s get the discussion going here.

    For those who haven’t seen it, the Nuggets would trade Carmelo to NJ and would receive Derrick Favors, Andrei Kirilenko, and one or more first round draft picks.

    For the Kirilenko haters out there (I’ve seen them on other boards), you are missing the point. We are acquiring him for his $17 million expiring contract, not for his talent or personality. If Melo stayed and became a free agent at the end of the year (and there are some realistic scenarios under which that could happen), the
    only upside for the Nuggets would be dropping Melo’s $17 million from the payroll. With this trade, we would get to do the same thing with AK47’s contract PLUS we get Favors and draft picks.

    I think this trade is a no-brainer from the Nuggets end and is more than we could have expected. I am basing this partly on the initial report that the Nugs would receive “multiple” first found picks. I did see one recent report, though, that only mentioned 1 first found pick (top-7 protected). We still have to do the trade, but 2 or more picks would make it much better.

    With the assets and impending cap relief we would have at the end of the season, I think we would be in an unusually good position to rebuild quickly for a team trading a “superstar”. Of course, I’m counting on Favors being as good as advertised. And I’m thinking that with a new CBA, it will be more important than ever to have financial flexibility.

    And to top it off, we might even have a fairly competitive team this year, especially if we can make another trade or two to acquire a center and/or a wing scorer. I’m sure some would argue that it would be better if the Nuggets are awful this year (thus getting a better draft position). And they might be right. But it might be easier to attract talent to Denver if the Nuggets look like they have a decent team to start with.

    For those still clinging to the hope that Melo will stay, or that we can hold out for Lopez or Noah or Griffin or someone like that, IMHO you are kidding yourselves. So I say the Nuggets should jump on this. The last report I saw said that the Nugs are the team that’s currently holding it up (hoping Melo will change his mind). I can see reasons why every team BUT the Nuggets might want to back out. So I hope they pull the trigger before it’s too late.

  • k

    I don’t get why Melo would want to sign an extension when it will be just him and Lopez. The 4 way trade has devin harris getting traded away. To me that’s a 40 win team give or take. He must either really not be happy being a nugget or just plain and simple want to be on the east coast NYC metro area. Or the whole new CBA thing is just making him sign the extension now for max$. i read some stuff how the nets could go after chris paul next year and this and that. But with all the expiring contracts the nuggets have (Kmart, JR, etc) the nuggets are in good shape too. It doesn’t make sense to me. I am not a Kirlenko fan but like DH says. This trade would set the nuggets up with young talent (Lawson,AA, Favors) and great financial flexibility. If Melo is going to leave this seams like a best case scenario to me.

  • asdqqq

    The thing that sells this trade for me is getting Kirilinko. That dude is a world-class player. Utah has been forcing him to play out of his natural position for years now because of their PF glut. I think a Kirelinko-Nene front court gives the Nuggets a chance to make some noise this year. And if it doesn’t work out, they can move on next year. Much better than getting Deng, who probably has a lower ceiling than Kirilinko and is locked in for years, or Murphy, who is a quality player but will never approach the level that Kirilinko can play at.

  • Ryan

    Take a look at these trades. It would keep the Nuggets competitive, Melo happy, and Detriot a new look. If only the right people were here to explore these scenarios..

    Or perhaps this scenario. Melo could then team up with both Harris and Lopez. And in my opinion, everyone wins, especially if a couple of 1st round draft picks from NJN are thrown in the mix (1 to DEN and another to DET for example, or both to DET).

  • aussie nugs fan

    I can live with this trade. Agree with k, this nets team will be lucky to make the playoffs, they have no back court. Is one of the draft picks we will recieve coming from the nets because that may even be a lottery pick or atleast in the teens. As for the reported protected warriors pick (1-7) i am interested to know whether this pick is protected the following year? I know warriors should be better this year but there is still a chance that pick will be top 7.