If you’ve been following the rumor mill lately, you’re probably aware of the frenzy that a potential blockbuster trade between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Clippers has caused, momentarily even overshadowing the NBA Finals. But before Boston and LA engaged in negotiations, Josh Kroenke made a call the Celtics, offering a first-round pick for the release of Doc Rivers.
On Wednesday, Josh Kroenke continued his all-out assault on the Nuggets front office after the most successful regular season in franchise history. The Denver Post’s Chris Dempsey is reporting the Nuggets have lost two more front office members in director of player personnel, Mike Bratz, and scouting director Dan Tolzman. While Bratz’s future remains up in the air, the Post’s Benjamin Hochman is reporting Tolzman has taken a “director-level scouting job” with the Raptors. The number of front office members to leave the Nuggets organization this summer now stands at four — and counting.
On Monday morning it was revealed that Tim Connelly, former assistant general manager of the New Orleans Hornets, would be the Denver Nuggets’ new Vice President of Basketball Operations. Not much is known about Connelly at this time in terms of his abilities. Those talents can only be revealed after he has assumed his (somewhat titular) GM position in Denver and made moves that can be analyzed. Here is what we do know about his background…
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…
ESPNLA’s Ramona Shelburne has reported that “Lionel Hollins will interview with the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, according to a source.”
Earlier this week, Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post reported that the Pacers and the Grizzlies had, respectively, granted the Nuggets permission to talk to Brian Shaw and Hollins in their pursuit to find a replacement for fired head coach George Karl. (more…)
According to Philly.com’s John Mitchell, the Denver Nuggets are “believed to be interested in promoting [Melvin] Hunt to replace George Karl.” Mitchell is also reporting the 76ers are interested in Hunt for their current head coaching vacancy. This is the first time Hunt’s name has been mentioned in connection with Denver’s search for a new head coach since George Karl was fired last week.
Benjamin Hochman, Nuggets beat writer for The Denver Post, recently published an article answering many of the questions fans have been asking about the current turmoil withing the Nuggets organization. He covers both the primary reasons for why Masai Ujiri fled to Toronto and why George Karl was let go before his current contract expired. This is a must read for any Nuggets fan as it outlines the current shift in power within the organization that will likely affect the team for years to come. As Hochman states in his title, it’s becoming more and more clear that Josh Kroenke is running the show.
What. Just. Happened?
It’s been over 12 hours since news first broke of Karl’s firing and I’m still not entirely convinced this isn’t all some crazed, sports-obsessed dream. After all, I was bedridden yesterday due to food poisoning and I could have sworn I was delusional for at least a few minutes. These things happen, right? People enter trance-like states for extended periods on a regular basis… don’t they? Can someone pinch me? PLEASE?!?!
According to ESPNLA.com’s Ramona Shelburne, current Nuggets head coach and reigning NBA Coach of the Year, George Karl, might be on the hot seat. Per Shelburne:
Denver Nuggets coach George Karl’s status has become “unsettled” following the departure of general manager Masai Ujiri for the Toronto Raptors, two sources close to the situation said late Saturday night.
Karl, who was named the NBA’s coach of the year following the Nuggets’ 57-win season, is not in any imminent danger of losing his job, the sources stressed. But Ujiri’s departure, coupled with Denver’s disappointing first-round playoff exit, has shaken things up in Denver to the point that Karl, who is under contract for just one more season, could, incredibly, begin the season on the hot seat after winning the league’s top coaching honor for the first time in his long career, instead of beginning extension talks.
This is somewhat surprising news. Throughout nearly a decade the Nuggets roster has been totally transformed. The front office has repeatedly switched personnel. Yet with each new season George Karl has remained head coach. When Masai Ujiri first came on as general manager of the Nuggets, rumors swirled that he was unhappy with Karl, yet a few months later he inked him to a potential six-year extension. Now, after only several days since Ujiri departed the Nuggets, rumors are again swirling that Karl’s position with the franchise is less than 100 percent secure. Of course, the fact the Clippers recently inquired about Karl certainly helps expedite this speculation; nevertheless, one can’t help but wonder which high-ranking Nuggets officials are more fans of Karl than others.
The news Nuggets fans have been dreading for a week straight became a reality Friday afternoon. The Toronto Raptors ongoing pursuit of former Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri is complete with Masai agreeing to a five year deal to become the Raptors’ next general manager.
Masai Ujiri has agreed to a 5 year deal for $15 million with Toronto, league sources say.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 31, 2013
Woj’s tweet was corroborated a few minutes later by CBS4′s Vic Lombardi, who confirms Ujiri himself has announced he’s out as the Nuggets’GM.
Just received a text from Ujiri. Confirmed. He’s a Raptor.
— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) May 31, 2013
It’s a tough reality for the Nuggets, who now have to start looking forward to an uncertain summer after one of the most successful seasons in franchise history. Obviously we will have a lot more coverage of what this means going forward, but Masai ended up signing the rich deal we all feared a savvy NBA team might offer in order to pry away the executive of the year.
Toronto did what it took to get him and for a hard worker with as humble beginnings as Ujiri, it is major success story. Congratulations to Masai.
UPDATE: The Nuggets have released a statement regarding Masai Ujiri. Team president Josh Kroenke announced a search for a new executive and the departing Masai Ujiri offers a few quotes as well. Read the full text on the Nuggets official website here.
In the midst of the agonizing Masai Ujiri drama Nuggets fans are forced to endure, reports have surfaced that the Los Angeles Clippers have taken notice of none other than Denver head coach George Karl. After getting rid of Vinny Del Negro, the Clippers are looking for a new head coach, and while Karl is not at the top of the team’s wish list, they are allegedly considering asking the Nuggets for permission to talk with Karl.
What started off as a bad dream has now morphed into a nightmare. According to Yahoo!Sports.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, “significant momentum has gathered that likely will lead to Ujiri’s departure from the franchise that he completely remade into a Western Conference contender.” Though nothing is final, it appears that unless a drastic turn of events occurs, the current NBA Executive of the Year and Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri will be taking his talents north of the border to Toronto. If you had one set of fingers already crossed, now’s the time to double up.
Earlier today Yahoo!Sports.com’s Adrien Wojnarowski reported the Nuggets ownership granted the Raptors permission to speak with Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri in Denver. In his article Woj states that, “Unless Denver responds soon with a market-value contract extension to keep its general manager, Ujiri is prepared to leave Denver,” and how, “Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke is aggressively pursuing Ujiri to become the Raptors’ general manager.”
As was first reported by Yahoo!Sports.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Toronto Raptors are targeting Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri for their vacant GM position after having dismissed Bryan Colangelo earlier this week. According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the Raptors are more than willing to make Ujiri one of the top paid executives in the league at over $2 million per year. Stein also claims Denver’s front office is confident in its ability to re-sign Ujiri to a new deal. Ujiri was rumored to be the lowest paid GM in the NBA under his previous deal that expired this year.
For NBA Draft junkies like me, the annual Draft Combine is the commencement of a nonstop obsession for about a month each summer. Although the Combine doesn’t present the ideal opportunity for scouting, there are still an assortment of minor details revealed about teams, players and the intentions of both that can prove invaluable during pre-draft analysis. Here is what I learned regarding the Nuggets from the first day of the Combine.