Nuggets news: Karl talks, Gallo walks and Iggy opts out

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.

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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.
  • Robert

    On Karl….

    I was always fine with him but this last year I was very frustrated with his substitutions. Watching Karl the past 3-4 years and seeing his lack of patience for JR, and Javale while having no problem with Andre’s cancerous attitude, ridiculous effort, and poor choices that lost games, I lost respect for Karl and I am ready to move in a new direction. I am even baffled with the Birdman situation. In Birds last year, he was the last man on the bench. Karl actually liked him and said “Bird knows that I trust him” yet he would not play him. Now Bird comes off of his couch to play more minutes for Miami than Javale played for Denver?? At any office setting, obvious favoritism like this creates a bad work environment.

    On IGGY…

    I would just make sure to at least get value for the asset in a sign and trade. e was frustrating to watch this year. I always wondered how he was an all star and Olympian. If you cannot make free throws or shoot, your one dimensional game is worth $11MM max. Give him 5 years, $55MM or nothing. In a few games he looked like a supreme athlete with moves like Jagger. Most of the seaso he looked like a $2MM player.

    On Gallo…

    With what these players are paid and the value that franchises place on their talent and health, how does this come to light 3 months after an injury? Something does not add up.

    A few speedy guards I would like to get to compliment backup Ty and leverage altitude..JJ Barea or Norris Cole. They remind me of the secret ingredient that we had in the Mutombo years with Robert Pack.

    • joefresco

      Anderson hasn’t exactly been impressing in the playoffs. Miami is doing everything it can do to not play any big guys other than Bosh. Javale would probably get as many minutes as he does on Miami. Only thing that would hold him back is his occasional mistakes.

      • heykyleinsf

        When you misspell his name.. and when you look at the near all time best in NBA history perfect run with FGs.. and FTs blocks and boards.. “hasn’t exactly been impressing”… JEEZUS. WHATEVER.

        • Cullen

          I think your argument about Anderson having a historic playoff run is largely centered on him playing with LeBron and DWade… many players can dunk on rebounds and lobs…. soooo…. yeah. Anderson would be a medium to low level big man anywhere else, like he was with the Nuggets.

          • heykyleinsf

            that’s garbage.. what ever issues and excuses and vendettas.. or just plain ignorance.. still garbage. Sour grapes or what ever. Newsflash. We lost him because Mozzy and K2 are so great. Makes a lot of fkng sense.

            • Cullen

              I agree that he’s probably better than 2K or Mos, but he’s not the amazing playoff product we’ve been seeing. Like I said, it doesn’t take a great player to jump and put back missed shots by slashers like LeBron and DWade… players that draw his Anderson’s defender off of him… Not to mention he has zero real responsibility due to players like Bosh, Haslem, etc.

            • Cullen

              Btw, just calling my arguments garbage aren’t really arguments, they are more of baseless claims of me being “fking ignorant”, jsyk.

              • heykyleinsf

                Birdman was instrumental for the Heat getting up to the Spurs.. this series.. because of the perimeter emphasis has made him moot.. but the end run with the record win streak and the playoffs up until the Spurs.. calling him “mid to low” is ridiculous. He has people go out of their way to hate him. He has just brought effort and energy. Mid to low isn’t realistic or fair in analyzing his importance. Sorry about your hurt feelings with the garbage reference. How about
                “usefully challenged”?

              • Cullen

                Well, look at it this way: He’s a good fit for the Heat but without perimeter shooters and paint slashers he’s average. Very little post game, just a high energy guy. Also, almost all his points are flying putbacks, ie not a real shot or post game. And still, no real explanations, no just assertions…

              • dynamo.joe

                last I checked flying putbacks….still worth 2 pts.

          • dynamo.joe

            If anyone can do it, why isn’t anyone else doing it?

            • heykyleinsf

              exactly dynamo. There are no points for style in the NBA. Points are points. Birdman was doing exactly what he is doing for the Heat as he was with the Nuggets.. and for what the +/- line is worth… Bird was always on the +.

              But if there were points for style.. rejecting shots in to the seats would be a perfect 10.. also an authoritative dunk.

              Outside of KG and Duncan..and maybe 2-3 others.. who plays the 5 spot with any serious perimeter game? That’s about as necessary as a point guard that can dunk. Nice.. but not essential or defining by any means.

              The thing I hate about NBA fans is their religiosity in terms of idol worship.. Birdman is the devil for sure. Iggy is such an angel. I’m not saying Bird is a HOF center.. but it’s completely ridiculous to berate him as a “mid to low” player.

  • wij

    No matter what team iguodala could have been on at this point in his contract I think he would have opted out. It would seem that he has peaked and getting a long term deal done now instead of waiting another year only makes sense for his career. Sure it won’t be for $16M/season, but we’ll see what his motivation is soon enough.

    Ball is in Kroenke court again now, let’s see how his plays this one…

  • Poz303

    I like GK, I enjoyed the style of the Nuggets, most entertaining team in the NBA. Probably would be close to the youngest team in the NBA if A. Miller wasn’t on it. I would not have minded seeing GK get another year BUT there would have to have been a couple of changes. Namely, A.Miller would need to have been traded. I think Miller is an NBA caliber point guard, a brilliant “passer” with tremendous court vision. But for GK to have this “thing” for A.Miller, I just don’t get it. He is the hand brake to the Nuggets Ferrari on offense and, without fail, the one defender who sags into the paint leaving his player wide open on the perimeter. A.Miller is just not made for GK’s system, and the fact GK can’t see it has always irked me.

    At the beginning of last season I had predicted that 2K would start but by mid-season, Javale would be our starting center. This was not so much the fact that Javale would develop so quickly but more so that the future at center is Javale and he needed the time on the court with the starters, develop that chemistry and be ready come playoff time. Again, GK stuck with 2K all year until the last two games in the playoffs where he finally realized he needed that something extra at center. Too little too late.

    I could go onto Fournier and JHam but enough said.

    I have been a GK fan, I have desired he shut his critics up, have wanted to stick it to the NBA community with their “you need a star” to win in the NBA, have wished he would win a championship in Denver playing this “teamness” style of basketball. But I have seen him get in his own way too. Bad decisions, players not given a chance. Seems to me GK places as much emphasis on a regular season win as he does a playoff game. If you truly believe Javale is going to be the eventual starter, then why not give him a few starts during the season?

    I am a little sad to see GK go, more so because I loved watching these Nuggets and hope the team nucleus stays together.

    With regards to Iggy. Relax. Chill. This was the EXPECTED move. He has said it all season. He would rather leave $16 million on the table and collect $60 million for 5 years. He could get that from a number of teams but this was the risk we all knew was coming at the end of this season. Such is life.

    Gallo said he has a partial tear of his ACL. So the course of treatment and recovery are a little different to a complete tear. This is great news.

    • John Kobbeman

      This is true, Dre did say 60 over 5 years, months ago, but he can only get 5 years from the Nuggets… either straight up, or on in a sign and trade. Any other team can only offer a max 4 years. So I think the Nuggs will get value no matter what.

    • Cullen

      For a selfless and starless team to work, the coach needs to act that way too. Lolz.

  • airvaid

    You know people harp on about playing JaVale more and Miller less. But please tell me how many of JaVale’s points were because of Andre Miller? McGee is awful on the floor without Andre Miller.

    People want JaVale to start, but more often than not JaVale is mockery on the court. Consistently turning the ball over, missing box out’s and abandoning his man chasing blocks. Offensively he does nothing apart from dunk. He doesn’t cut well, doesn’t pass well and has zero post game. Without Andre Miller throwing him lobs in the Laker’s series, he would be on an Anthony Randolph contract.

    Also has anyone seen stats on how awful the team was defensively when both JaVale and Faried were on the floor?

    • Cullen

      I think you’re largely right, but I think JaVale has more potential than Kosta Kofous. He’s a soft player that won’t play tough down low and does a lot of the same things… so… a player with more potential or KK who we all know what we get from him? I think with more minutes and a better big man coach, JaVale will progress.

      And there is no defense of Andre Miller, just stahp.

      • dynamo.joe

        Kosta is a top 10 center in this league, so…..I don’t think YOU know what we get with Kosta.

        And before someone responds with “he only gets those rebounds because Faried is getting all the attention”, let me respond with “then why aren’t Mozgov, McGee, and Randolph getting those rebounds when they play with Faried”?

        I’m not saying I would take Kosta over every other center in NBA history but I am saying you guys undervalue Kosta’s unspectacular, but dependable play. There is a car commercial where the announcer says something like “whoah! Look at the dependability on that one!” That’s K2.

        And yes I am aware he fell apart during the last 2 weeks of the season/playoffs. That doesn’t invalidate his play during the 1st 77 games of the season.

    • dynamo.joe

      This is the part that makes you look stupid.

      “Offensively he does nothing apart from dunk”

      Oh noes!!!! His go to move is the most efficient play in basketball. If only he preferred the mid-range jumper so he could score half as many points.

  • ny nugs fan

    iguodala was an amazing leader on the floor; but the great thing is that our young guys learned from him

    looks like the nugs are gonna have some turnover on the roster

    here’s to hoping we place priority on guys with high ft percentages; the denver nuggets through the years have generally been great ft shooting teams, even during the melo era

  • Mikey K

    The main reason I wanted him out, and you stated it rather eloquently was this:

    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.

    He just backhanded Ty Lawson, Iggy, and Gallo into next season with that comment. Is he serious? Either the radiation treatments messed with his vision and comprehension more than anyone realizes or there’s a lot more behind the scenes we don’t really know. He’s putting Miller up with guys like Wade, Parker, and CP3? He’s delusional.

    I am honestly not too worried about next season. We don’t know WHAT the young guys can do because Karl never played them unless we were up 20 with a minute left in the game. If we end up missing the playoffs, the prize is a trip to a loaded lottery. If we hit, we’re this season’s GSW. You remember them–they gave up a few regular season wins to develop guys and then beat us and gave the newly minted Western Conference Champs all they could handle and then some,

    Just gotta land the right coach (hint: He isn’t named Hollins).

  • heykyleinsf

    I see nothing but great news.. GK is butthurt. Maybe he will finally learn a lesson. Gallo will play before the end of the year. I don’t care.. behind Ty.. he is our most important player and that includes Iggy… I’m on record to not be the biggest believer in AI.. Do I want him back? Of course.. Do I think he is worth $16M??? Hell no. We need leadership. Iggy brings it when he feels up to it. I don’t see an elite NBA player.. Olympics whatever.. wasn’t recognized as the defender God everyone says he is by anyone outside of Denver. Sure .. come back for what you’re worth Iggy.. somewhere around half of your contract.

    • heykyleinsf

      Just so it’s not lost on anyone..
      Gallo heroically hit a last second shot..
      just as Iggy was trying to go in for the steal.

  • Trafalgar Law

    karl should just move on.. Dude has been crying to the media… Smh… all i heard were excuses…

  • Cullen

    So, I’ve been thinking of what a free agency without Iggy would look like… which, yes is pretty frightening for the Nuggets… but there are some moves that could happen regardless of him.

    1.) Backup point guard not named Andre Miller. There are a few guys that I think we could sign to lower level deals and play good minutes behind Lawson. Guys like Devin Harris, Darren Collison, Randy Foye or DJ Augistin. They aren’t good enough to start and play big minutes on their own right, but they could play a good back up role to Ty and could even play with Ty. Trading Andre Miller would be obvious, as well… they just need to take what they can get for him, honestly.

    2.) Get help in the post that plays a little more offense. This would obvious assume letting Mosgov walk… but JaVale should start. Players I could see fitting in well with the Nuggets scheme would be Paul Milsap, JJ Hickson, Al Jefferson, DeJuan Blair, or Carl Landry. I think some of these players could force Faried to the bench… which is probably a better fit for him anyway. He could be sixth man of the year material coming off the bench. He plays high energy basketball and has a way underdeveloped offensive game, so the bench would be great. I think all of those players minus DeJuan Blair would be an offensive upgrade, but even Blair would add some depth as well.

    Now, in a world in which we don’t have Iggy:

    1.) Get an Iggy replacement. We have younger players that would assuredly need and get more minutes in light of an Iggy departure, like Fouriner and JHam, but I think we would need another player to fill that role. OJ Mayo comes to mind. Yes, he plays pretty lackluster defense… but he shoot the three ball and has a good offensive game that could be unleashed in the Nuggets offense. Plus he’s athletic, so playing defense could be a learned talent. Other replacements could include Tony Allen. A tough player who plays tremendous, although he plays much less offense as compared to Iggy. Chase Budinger could be that as well, although he is definitely a last resort kinda guy. Kevin Martin would be good, although he’s small and only is a shooter; probably overpriced too. I also think JJ Redick is super underrated and has more complete game than people realize.

    2.) It would free up the space for a higher level big man.

    All in all, I think getting Brian Shaw is the first stepping stone… that and promoting our assistant GM to GM. Those two moves would reset a great foundation and help us bring back in Iggy. I don’t think losing Iggy would be the end of the world, but it would definitely set us back… but replacements are there and could improve our game else where.

    • Mikey K

      Only that now we have to fill the GM from the outside since D’Alessandro is headed to Sacramento to try and put the Kings back together…

      • Cullen

        Yeah, that is pretty devastating… Why did we let him go? I mean, srsly.

        • Mikey K

          No clue. Pretty stupid other than Josh making it clear that anyone associated with putting this team together is personae non grata at Pepsi Center apparently.

          I dunno that I like the idea of Tony Di Leo being GM. Right he put together the playoff team that had Iggy on it, but he also bombed big time in the Bynum trade. He had to have known that if the Lakers (where big men go to become stars) didn’t want him he wasn’t worth dealing for.

          • Cullen

            Yeah, I really don’t understand this move to let him leave for Sacramento. I mean, losing Mesai was pretty awful, but I’m not sure I would have agreed them out bidding the Raptors for him. It would have been well over 5mil and in retrospect it probably wouldn’t have been worth it… but a miraculous replacement such as D’Alessandro made the decision easier…

            Also, not really a fan of Tony Di Leo. I think he had built a pretty good team minus the Bynum trade. Part of me thinks that the Bynum trade was a complete mistake for the onset, but I think him being injured made the trade a total disaster. I am less persuaded by him being a bad trade if he would have played/resigned.

            Overall, I’m at a much bigger loss and will need to do some research before I form an articulate opinion on the new GM candidates.

  • schmitie

    I don’t know what the proper value for Iggy is given that I haven’t watched many 76ers games from the previous seasons. Trajectory is difficult to fit with only a single season. BUT..

    I think the key point is that the only value we gave up for Iggy was a late-first round pick. We got rid of bad contracts (AAA and Big Al) so in the end if Iggy leaves, we are still better off.

  • Mikey K

    If Iggy walks completely, what does the Nuggets’ cap space look like?

    • dynamo.joe

      There has to be a $16M cap hold for Iggy right now, right?

      From what I can tell (don’t hold me to this), if Iggy walks, and we let Brewer and Mozgov go, we will have $16M + whatever the increase in the cap is for 2013-2014. But I think I have heard it will be small. We still need to sign Stone ($1M?) and a late 1st rounder ($500k?). So, $14M plus the bump?

  • MMZ

    I think 5 years 60M– as somebody mentioned– is right on for AI. Don’t get me wrong I would prefer 8-10/yr range but when you give JaVale 44M over 4yrs, you got to come at least a little above that for AI simply as a matter of his pride.

    Here’s to hoping McGee can earn his money in the years ahead and that AI can sign for 5 and be the leader of a tight knit group that keeps getting better. Would love to see a Spurs culture in Denver but more exciting to watch. HA! Scratch that if they win like the Spurs I won’t mind style one bit. GO NUGS

    • Mikey K

      He isn’t coming back even if Denver can give him more money and the extra year. The timing of his announcement couldn’t have said it any louder.

      The Nuggets are right near the cap. They could use the breathing room, especially if a new GM and coach are coming in. They have to be able to maneuver and build on what’s here. Can’t do that without cap space.

      Might I also remind you of the size and caliber of next year’s FA class.

      • MMZ

        Timing is ominous… and you could be right. It seems to me he could be leveraging his position in getting more $ out of a new deal. The organization has been rocked by so much change it could be even more attractive to Josh McDaniels, I mean Kroenke, to sign AI. It’s very enterprising timing in that way I think. But hey, you nailed it, if AI is gone they clear cap space and try to put together a season to inspire members of the next big FA bonanza that Denver is a place to be.

      • dynamo.joe

        Wait, let me get this straight. You don’t think AI will come back but you think we have a shot at LeBron?

        • Mikey K

          Did I say LeBron? No, I didn’t. He isn’t the only FA next season. A lot of players have contracts that expire end of next season. More and better than this season’s supply.

          I don’t expect LeBron and I certainly hope that Josh doesn’t get starry-eyed in his hope that Denver can land him. It ain’t happening, but improvement CAN be found in that crop of players.

          Please, if there’s one thing I hate more than anything on these boards is people putting words into my mouth, so don’t even start.

          • dynamo.joe

            Be specific then, who are these players that are better than Iguodala AND can be induced to sign here? Because I believe that list of people is the null set.

            • Mikey K

              I don’t know who COULD sign here other than to say it will not be LeBron. I think some of that depends on what Josh does to put things back together–who he hires as a coach and what philosophy to the game they bring along with how the front office shapes out and what course, as an organization, they decide to take. What moves in roster do they take to free up cap space. Do they re-sign Iggy? Do they use their depth as leverage in a S & T with someone? Nothing is set until Josh decides he’s ready to move.

  • Qmill30

    If it looks like Iggy isn’t coming back, I wouldn’t be opposed to sign and trading him the warriors. People would complain we are making the team that beat us stronger which is true but we could get one of their young promising assets in return. Try to get Klay, very very unlikely though but more realistically Harrison Barnes. We would obviously taking a step back but we would be resetting with a lot of young talented pieces.

    But I want Iggy back, but I don’t mind this as a back-up plan. I’d prefer Harrison Barnes and an expiring contract to cap space we can’t use.

    • dynamo.joe

      I still say if you are looking for a young guy who isn’t quite a star, but is going to be, look at Jimmy Butler.

    • ny nugs fan

      i can guarantee you the warriors have absolutely no plans to trade harrison barnes

  • Qmill30

    I don’t many think of Gallo’s injury like this, but a bonus of him coming back earlier is he will hopefully have a couple of months to show he can still play before the trade deadline if something comes up. I don’t mean we should be seeking out to trade him but if something comes up, he’d most likely be a crucial piece with his talent and salary.