Nuggets’ new front office taking shape in familiar fashion

The Nuggets announced the hiring of Ben Tenzer as director of team operations on Friday, a move that signifies the first management shakeup under new GM Tim Connelly and one more step in a complete tear-down of the front office responsible for the 2012-2013 executive of the year award.
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The Denver Nuggets have paid the 11th most in luxury tax

The NBA’s big spenders will soon have to reckon with a much more punitive luxury tax structure. From the league’s implementation of the tax in 2003, teams have been required to pay “just” one dollar in luxury tax for every dollar in payroll that exceeds the tax threshold. This relatively soft penalty on an already soft salary cap will soon undergo significant changes. Cap guru Larry Coon describes the new luxury tax conditions under the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, which will kick into effect next year:

Starting in 2012-13, teams pay an incremental tax that increases with every $5 million above the tax threshold ($1.50, $1.75, $2.50, $3.25, etc.). Teams that are repeat offenders (paying tax at least four out of the past five seasons) have a tax that is higher still — $1 more at each increment ($2.50, $2.75, $3.50, $4.25, etc.).

The desired effect is that these heavier penalties will give pause to even the deepest pocketed, biggest spending owners such as the Knicks’ James Dolan, the Lakers’ Jerry Buss, and the Mavericks’ Mark Cuban, when it comes to dishing out big bucks on salaries. (Though many might point to this summer’s free agency period as evidence the dissuasive effect has been minimal so far).

With the Kroenke family at the helm, the Denver Nuggets have been in the upper strata of teams with wealthy owners. According to (more…)

Encore to a Basketball Renaissance

With the first round of the 2011 NBA playoffs already underway and the Nuggets opening series against the Thunder not far behind, it’s time to look back, forward and all around at the season that has been and the playoff season that might be. (more…)

2010-11 Game 81: Denver Nuggets 134, Golden State Warriors 111

Tonight the Denver Nuggets defeated the Golden State Warriors to reach the 50-win plateau for the fourth consecutive season. Along the way nine Nuggets reached double figures in scoring — one short of the team record 10 — and professional pine-rider (or should I say, “former” profesional pine-rider) Kosta Koufos had perhaps the best game of his young career scoring 18 points and nine rebounds in only 19 minutes of action. (more…)

The Blame Game: Stan Kroenke’s Money Edition

With Carmelo Anthony’s eventual departure looming over the entire season, Nuggets fans have had nothing but time to point their fingers in dismay. Exactly where did we go wrong with Carmelo and whose fault is it? Despite a payroll annually among the most expensive in the league, many are placing the blame on Stan Kroenke’s plan for a new era of far less extravagant spending. While there is some merit to the idea that Stan’s influence could have planted the seeds of doubt in Melo’s mind, to charge Stan’s frugality as the grave injustice that’s ran poor Melo out of town is little more than crying over spilt milk.

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Summarizing the Mark Warkentien Era

The Denver Nuggets have been to the playoffs seven straight seasons and have posted three straight 50 win campaigns for the first time as an NBA franchise. Despite the consistency they have displayed on the court, the front office is once again in a state of flux.

The Nuggets announced today Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman will not have their contracts renewed and thus will cease to be employed by the club at the end of August (Denver Post article, Tomasson article on FanHouse). This is no surprise as Warkentien has been granted permission to speak with other teams about their front office vacancies. Over the previous four seasons the Nuggets have had quite a few cooks around the fire. Warkentien, Chapman, Bret Bearup and George Karl have all had a say in personnel matters and do not forget Stan Kroenke ultimately determines what he is willing to spend which plays a considerable role in player personnel decisions.

Despite the crowded kitchen Warkentien was the head chef and he made a significant mark on the franchise.

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Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman Leaving the Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets have announced the contracts of Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman will not be renewed.

Kroenke Sports Enterprises Vice President Paul Andrews is quoted as saying:

“…after meeting with both individually in recent weeks, we decided it would be best for all parties to go their separate ways. We appreciate everything that each has done for the organization and wish them nothing but the very best in the future.”

Andrews went on to say the Nuggets are in the process of restructuring the front office and they have begun a search for replacements.

Denver Nuggets Sign Al Harrington

My post about how Denver was one of only two teams yet to add a player to their roster since the end of the 2009-10 season (Cleveland is the other) was interrupted by the announcement that they had come to terms with Al Harrington on a five year, $34 million contract which appears to be a full midlevel exception deal (which has been confirmed by Marc Stein in a new edition of the article).

My response is taking action for the sake of taking action is not always the right thing to do.

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Mark Warkentien – In His Own Words

Editor’s note: Summer league may be over, but that does not mean we have to let it go. Bret Bearup, Mark Warkentien and George Karl were all interviewed during Denver Nuggets games. I was able to get very low quality recordings of the interviews so crank the volume on your computer and enjoy.

After listening to Bret Bearup we are moving on to Mark Warkentien, the front man for the Denver Nuggets management team. I listened to a great many interviews that were part of the summer league game broadcasts and I think Warkentien was the only guest who actually stayed after the end of the quarter and kept talking. He is definitely a gregarious guy and the announcers were clearly impressed with him.

Click here to listen.

I thought Warkentien’s comment that Coby Karl is better on a good team than a bad team was interesting. The Nuggets are clearly a good team. It was also good to hear him say that they have demonstrated that the organization is not afraid to make a big move and they will pull the trigger when the right deal comes along. I also got a kick out of how he insisted that Linas Kleiza when it seems pretty clear that they could have signed him to a modest long term contract by now. He also really talks up Afflalo, and I believe with good reason.

Another very interesting comment Warkentien made was how the Camby trade was an investment in Nene, which we all realized at the time, but also how when Denver passed on Ron Artest two seasons ago, he mentions that it was an investment in J.R.

Of course, the highlight was the dissertation on the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and Huntsville Flight.

The third and final interview featuring George Karl will post this afternoon.