A lot’s happened in the last 24 hours surrounding Denver Nuggets. George Karl has been making the rounds with the Denver media sharing what he calls “his side of the story,” in regards to his dismissal as Nuggets head coach last week. Meanwhile, Danilo Gallinari claims his knee was never as bad as we all thought, and Andre Iguodala… well, yeah…
First, the Karl interviews:
104.3 The Fan with Sandy Clough (at the very top)
CBS4 Denver Web Extra with Vic Lombardi
The Denver Post with Benjamin Hochman
Reaction: These are must see/listen. Seriously. If you have any time of the day to spare and are even remotely interested in the Nuggets and what’s gone down the last few weeks, you need to check out these interviews. I’ve been listening to Karl talk for the last nine years and I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard him this candid before. Here’s what I’ve learned from his recent “Firing Tour”:
- Karl knows he can’t defend his playoff record. He’s repeatedly stated that he understands how awful it is, but each time he also points out how successful he was in the regular season. This is true, of course. But at some point Karl has to realize that even though the playoffs only account for a fraction of the season, it’s THE most important fraction. It’s essentially like doing great on every homework assignment all year long, then bombing come finals. The best grade you’re ever gonna get is a C, maybe a B if you’re lucky. If you’re shooting for straight As, that’s just not gonna cut it.
- Karl claims the biggest reason he pressured management for an extension was for the security of his assistants. Perhaps this is true. At the same time, it’s a little suspect. It could even be interpreted as a classless alibi if taken the wrong way. I think there’s an element of truth to what Karl’s saying. But you’d also have to be pretty naive to think Karl’s some kind of altruistic alien from another planet who basically got fired trying to protect his assistants. It’s honorable either way. But let’s be real: He wanted the extension. He knew he was in over his head. He wanted assurance knowing that in one year, after he’d likely lost again in the first round, management wouldn’t be fumbling over pens around the office to re-sign him.
- Karl will go down with Andre Miller come hell or high water. He pontificates his allegiance to “YOLO” in the Sandy Clough interview the most. It’s amazing, honestly. It’s truly amazing. Karl still claims Miller’s 2012-13 season was “fantastic” and that he was the “rock” of the team. He says he was a top five player on the entire roster last year and that he was the only “five-star” leader on a team full of “two-star” guys. If you ever needed any explanation for why Karl was fired, look no further than these statements.
- Karl loved the Nuggets, especially this past year’s team. He says the 2012-13 Nuggets was one of his all-time favorite teams to coach and that there was something special when it came to chemistry, cohesion and his favorite work, “togetherness.”
- Karl says there was a disconnect with Ujiri towards the end of the season. He says he heard rumors that Ujiri was upset about his minutes distribution, that it possibly stemmed from playing Andre Miller too much rather than Fournier or McGee. Yet, Karl still claims Miller gave the Nuggets their best chance of winning in the playoffs. He even compared him to Dwyane Wade — which was astronomically comical.
- Karl says McGee would have started next year. Unfortunately, it will be one year too late. It’s also really easy to say that now, before the season has started, when you’re not even gonna be coaching next year. This is one proclamation I would have had to see to believe.
- Karl knows he had a contingent of critics in Denver. He says he still had fun with them, but ended his interview with Clough on a somewhat sad note, stating, “Unfortunately, I think Kiszla might have won this one.” I hope Karl doesn’t feel that way. He was in Denver for close to a decade. If anybody won, it was him.
In other news…
According to Yahoo!Sports.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Andre Iguodala will opt out of the final year of his contract. This is not good news for the Nuggets — in my opinion — if only for the fact that it comes right on the heels of Karl and Ujiri’s respective departures. To me, this is almost a statement. Iguodala could have opted out anytime recently, or in the near future, yet he does it immediately following what’s essentially turning out to be a mini-blowup of the franchise. I don’t know. Perhaps I’m being oversensitive and at the same time superstitious. But… he is giving up $16 million this year! A guaranteed $16 million!!! And remember, he’s an unrestricted free agent. The only upper hand Denver has in negotiations is that they can offer him a more lucrative contract than other teams. However, this advantage doesn’t expire until his contract expires. It would still be there next year if he took the guaranteed $16 million this year! Which again, to me, means he wants to opt out for a reason. I don’t know. Please, correct me if I’m wrong on this one. Or, hold me in your arms, stroke my hair and tell me everything’s gonna be alright. Either way.
Also, on a weird but good note, Danilo Gallinari supposedly doesn’t have a torn ACL after all — at least, according to a video he posted on Facebook. Hochman is reporting Gallinari will be back sometime near December, rather than his original return date which was slated to be around All-Star break in February.
Follow me on Twitter