HoopsHype Mark Warkentien rumors

January 31, 2011 Updates

Warkentien told confidants two years ago one of his dreams was to work for Walsh and considered him a mentor. Supporters of a Warkentien hire thought it would be a good fit because of his reputation as pounding the pavement as far as scouting. Walsh has not traveled this season because he is rehabbing from hip-replacement surgery. New York Post

Walsh's contract has a team option that must be picked up by April 1. While the addition of Warkentien as a consultant is viewed by those close to the situation as a prelude to an expanded and more permanent role, sources also say that not only is Walsh's option expected to be picked up, but his contract may be extended as well. Though Walsh has made no noise about wanting the extension, he has expressed to confidants a strong desire to see the Knicks' rebuilding through after overcoming a series of health issues in recent months. After returning to Madison Square Garden recently after undergoing hip replacement surgery, Walsh has been described by friends as especially enthusiastic and strong-willed about completing the massive restoration project. CBSSports.com

Another factor for Walsh is the ongoing NBA investigation into a Yahoo! Sports report of illegal predraft workouts and contact with college underclassmen by East Coast scouting director Rodney Heard. The NBA has hired a law firm to investigate the charges, which included several players and witnesses detailing serious rules violations. Pending the results of the investigation, the Knicks could face substantial fines and the possible loss of future draft picks. If Heard loses his job with the Knicks, West Coast scout Mark Hughes, who was largely responsible for the drafting of second-round gem Landry Fields, is expected to move into a more prominent role in the Knicks’ front office. The ability to find talent outside the draft – such as Europe, the Development League and undrafted college players – has been a strength of Warkentien over his two decades in NBA front offices. Yahoo! Sports

December 7, 2010 Updates

Before we go, I have to point out that the Nuggets are 7-0 when J.R. Smith plays more than 24 minutes. Would you like to comment on that? George Karl: That sounds like a Mark Warkentien stat! I didn’t know that, but J.R. has been going great. Last night [against the Grizzlies] was a bit of a step backward, but his commitment and professionalism in practice and in games is the best its ever been since I’ve coached him. denverstiffs.com

November 17, 2010 Updates

This e-mail was sent out last night by Mark Warkentien to several members of the media who cover the Trail Blazers: This was forwarded to me earlier tonight from a radio interview that Steve Patterson recently did. …Steve spoke well of Dr. Roberts and the Blazer trainers during the interview. He said that any criticism that they have received re: so many Portland players being injured is unfounded, the staff is one of the best in the NBA, etc… Let me reinforce and strongly support what Steve Patterson reportedly had to say. Don Roberts & Tom Reis are great – not good – docs. One of the primary reasons my family has stayed in Lake Oswego is because of Don Roberts & Tom Reis; I have trusted my health and that of my family to these gentlemen; the highest compliment one can offer. During the past 19-years I have worked for the Seattle Sonics, Blazers, Cavaliers and Nuggets; Don Roberts and Tom Reis are top shelf in the NBA. Both are terrific doctors and even better people. Dwight Jaynes

September 25, 2010 Updates

Anthony has refused to sign a three-year, $65 million extension with the Nuggets and has made it clear to team officials he’s not comfortable with the franchise’s stability. There’s unrest within the organization, where George Karl’s top assistant, Tim Grgurich, has left, league sources said. Grgurich has told friends he’s angry about the franchise’s refusal to retain former GM Mark Warkentien. Karl is now without his two most trusted confidants in the organization, Warkentien and Grgurich. Yahoo! Sports

September 24, 2010 Updates
September 13, 2010 Updates
August 24, 2010 Updates

The departure of vice president of basketball operations Mark Warkentien has elevated Kroenke to a more prominent role in the Nuggets organization – one that likely will eventually include majority ownership. Well before the Nuggets didn’t renew Warkentien’s contract this summer, sources said Kroenke made a springtime tour to meet several of the most prominent West Coast player agents. The agents were told they would soon be dealing more directly with Kroenke on Nuggets personnel matters. Yahoo! Sports

August 19, 2010 Updates

The Nuggets considered Griffin, Ujiri, Atlanta assistant general manager Dave Pendergraft and former Sacramento assistant general manager Jason Levien for the position. Griffin has close ties to Nuggets advisor Bret Bearup, the last of three influential personnel voices to remain after executives Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman were let go earlier this month. Ujiri, meanwhile, is well-respected by both owner Stan Kroenke and his Nuggets executive son. Josh Kroenke, the 30-year-old vice president of team development, is widely assumed to be in line to one day take over for his father as owner and has seen his role increase of late. FanHouse.com

August 11, 2010 Updates

Billups expressed some shock at the Nuggets not retaining Warkentien and Chapman. "I was a little surprised by it, but, obviously, I knew they were both in contract situations,'' said Billups, who has spoken to both Warkentien and Chapman and wished them the best. "They're both going to be fine. Obviously, their records and resumes speak for themselves.'' FanHouse.com

August 6, 2010 Updates
August 4, 2010 Updates

NBA observers figured the Nuggets wouldn't bring back one of their front-office executives, either Rex Chapman or Mark Warkentien, both of whom had contracts expiring in August. But the Nuggets surprised everyone Tuesday, from coach George Karl to rival teams, by letting them both go. "I had certainly been planning on returning," said Chapman, who was the team's vice president of player personnel. "But I think that the franchise right now is at a point where they have the situation going on with Carmelo (Anthony's contract) and they're going to focus their energy on bringing in maybe some new blood to the process, and I don't blame them for that. "I've got the utmost respect for the (Stan) Kroenke family. . . . This is business and in our business you have the freedom to run it as you see fit. I wish the Nuggets nothing but the best." Denver Post

The Denver Nuggets announced on Tuesday that Warkentien, the vice president of basketball operations who won the award in 2008-09 and whose contract expires Aug. 31, would not be retained. In a major front-office shakeup, the Nuggets also announced vice president of player personnel Rex Chapman, whose contract also expires Aug. 31, would not return. Of other recent Executive of the Year winners, the Clippers' Elgin Baylor was let go 2 ½ years after winning in 2005-06. Memphis' Jerry West, the 2003-04 winner, retired three years later and Phoenix's Bryan Colangelo, the 2004-05 winner, went to Toronto less than a year later. Among winners for Coach of the Year, six of the past seven were gone from their positions within three years of being handed the trophy. FanHouse.com

I caught up with Nuggets coach George Karl on Tuesday night, and GK expressed his emotions about the Nuggets’ decision to not renew the contracts of execs Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman (quotes below) As for his health, Karl also said he’s no longer feeding himself through a stomach tube (following his bout with throat-and-neck cancer). He is able to eat foods, but is taking it slow. Denver Post

As for his thoughts on the execs, notably his close friend Warkentien, Karl said: “I have a lot of love and friendship with Mark. Over the last few years, we pulled off some incredible personnel moves, Mark and I work very well as a team, but I also respect Stan (Kroenke) and the organization. … I respect his decision and I respect that we will move hopefully in a direction that will somehow, someway, be better. But Mark, to me, is a very, very first-class personnel guy.” “As a coach, there’s always frustrating moments with personnel. Always moments that we disagree. But Mark and I, in the last 20 years, worked together probably 10 of those years. We can fight with each other, hang up on each other, and we still work together. That’s an asset. In the same sense, Stan is very capable and interesting and kind of eccentric owner in a lot of ways. Denver Post

Nuggets GM Mark Warkentien was let go yesterday by Denver and will be strong Knicks' GM candidate if Walsh decides to make a hire. The Post reported recently the well-respected Warkentien, a friend of Walsh's, had a preliminary interview with the Knicks last summer after being given permission by the Nuggets owner. New York Post

July 2, 2010 Updates

The Nuggets have a three-year, $65 million offer on the table to extend Anthony's contract through 2015. He's due to make about $17 million next season, after which he can opt out and become courted and coveted like this year's superstar class that includes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. "We're doing everything we can to make 'Melo the basketball version of John Elway, who plays with one team his entire career and becomes The Guy," Nuggets executive Mark Warkentien told The Associated Press during a brief break from business calls. ESPN.com

If Melo turns the team down this summer, the last resort could be trading him, a source told The Denver Post's Mark Kiszla earlier this week. As for the Nuggets' hefty offer to Anthony, Warkentien said: "Nothing's new — (owner) Stan Kroenke's in it to win it. As far as the offer, did you expect anything less? In our business, (contract offers) always depend on the name, and Melo's the right name." Denver Post

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