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 Nuggets.com.
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 NorthJersey.com 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.