“I believe you can develop guards together. But two centers? No way,” Nurkić said. “I don’t want to make this a big drama like KD. I was never on the same page with the coach and the front office. It just came to the point where I needed to go. My career was on the line.”
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Chris Dempsey: #Nuggets president Josh Kroenke is close friends with Richard Jefferson. The Nuggets would have to let someone go to complete the move.
“He’s really emblematic of the program we’re trying to build,” president of basketball operations, Tim Connelly, said. “He came in as kind of a scrawny 19-year old, struggled his first year, continued to work on his craft, got better and better, was given opportunities and ran with them. Never deviated from his desire to be here.”
In an appearance on The Woj Pod, hosted by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Nuggets’ president of basketball operations Tim Connelly shed some light on his decision to trade Nurkic and why the 23-year-old wound up in Rip City. “We had well-publicized issues as Nikola started to take off. Juka (Jusuf), who’s a great kid, was struggling with his new role,” Connelly rehashed. “It was no secret league-wide. We thought a guy like Mason with his ability to play with and without Nikola with his physicality, with his team-first approach, might be a good fit.”
Connelly continued about how there was surprisingly very little interest in Nurkic across the league when he started making trade calls. Certainly its been fantastic for Juka to have that starting opportunity. He played great. I don’t think anyone ever questioned his talent or skill-set and we’re extremely happy to have Mason but there are very few calls you can make or take where it’s ‘you know we have too many small forwards and you have got a good power forward’ or ‘this guy’s a good player’ and that part’s frustrating in that regard. During the Nurkic conversations, kind of realizing a change of scenery would be good for both the player and the team, how few willing partners there were even teams on paper at least ‘hey we think this guy’s a starting center. He’s proven to be such.’
Juka would be the first to tell you he’d probably handle some things differently. He was an immature kid at the time and emotionally you never know how he’s going to deal with things. But he’s a good kid and a very good player. I was shocked when you make these calls and teams think ‘hey they really need a center’ or ‘this team can’t rebound a lick this will be an easy one,’ how rarely that basketbll is the focus on the conversation.
Harris’ agents with CAA Sports, Austin Brown and Aaron Mintz, completed the deal on Saturday night with Denver president of basketball operations Tim Connelly. Harris, 23, is eligible for his rookie extension as part of the NBA’s 2014 draft class. There’s an Oct. 16 deadline for players to agree to a deal, or proceed into restricted free agency in July.
T.J. McBride: I asked Alex English if the Nuggets’ are embracing their history more than before. He said Nuggets’ greats have asked to be more involved.
TJ McBride: Nuggets also announce the hiring Calvin Booth as assistant GM to work under Arturas Karnisovas. pic.twitter.com/jd41iJhVBm
Chris Dempsey: #NBA scuttle: #Nuggets are expected to soon hire Calvin Booth as assistant general manager.
Chris Dempsey: Booth, a former player, was director of pro personnel for the Minnesota Timberwolves. #Nuggets
Jon Krawczynski: AP Sources: Wolves dir of pro personnel Calvin Booth is leaving to become asst GM of the Denver Nuggets
Jon Krawczynski: Calvin Booth has ties to Denver president Tim Connelly from their days in Washington. Very respected talent evaluator
Chris Dempsey: #Nuggets president and governor Josh Kroenke on what he likes about the current state of his team. “Just the overall development — internally, externally, front office, coaching staff, roster. I think everybody is getting better across the board, which is really what your organization wants at the end of the day. Yeah, we had a couple of tough years. But my message to Tim and Arturas through those times was make the most of those opportunities. And with a subpar record comes a high draft pick, and I think that our guys have done basically as well as anyone else in the NBA in drafting, particularly in the last three years. I think you’ll see a lot of our own draft picks dotted throughout our roster, and some of those guys are contributing heavily. As long as we’re drafting well you put yourself in a position to succeed because you’re creating valuable assets out of thin air. And I think that’s what our guys have done.”
The NBA draft, the first for Karnisovas with the title of Nuggets general manager, was only three days away. And though he portrayed a deep sense of calm early Monday as he prepared to help put the finishing touches on Denver’s draft plan, the competitive fire of a man with a literal world of basketball experience over three decades bubbled just below the surface. “I enjoy the draft. I enjoy the adrenaline,” said the 46-year-old Karnisovas, who was promoted to general manager last week after four years as the franchise’s assistant GM. “There are some who dread that, but I enjoy it. The draft is the culmination, the end product of all you’re doing to get to know a player, his character. … My favorite part is when you pick a player and you see him have success.”
Denver Nuggets President and Governor Josh Kroenke announced today that Tim Connelly has been promoted to President of Basketball Operations while Arturas Karnisovas has been promoted to General Manager.
“Tim and Arturas’ incredible work ethic, eye for talent, and integrity over the past several years has done nothing but give our organization confidence in our future and these promotions are a direct reflection of that belief,” stated Kroenke. “Continuity is one of the more underappreciated traits of championship level organizations, and we couldn’t be more excited for our group to continue to work together towards the goal of bringing Denver its first NBA title. While we acknowledge we still have lots of hard work ahead, the strides we have made on and off the basketball court are starting to reflect the culture that we believe can take us to a special place. With Tim and Arturas continuing their tireless efforts, a promising young team, and plenty of salary cap flexibility, we hope our fans are as excited as we are about the future of Denver Nuggets basketball.”
Chris Dempsey: GM Arturas Karnisovas on being happy to stay in Denver with the #Nuggets: “I’m extremely happy. Sometimes people are like ‘(Arturas), are you happy?’ It’s just my demeanor. But I’m the kind of guy that if we start something I’d like to see it through. I’m a competitive person as well, and would like to see the Denver Nuggets being successful. A lack of success the last couple of years has been bothering all of us. But again, we need to be patient.”
Arturas Karnisovas: “We have a very young team and great coaching staff that made those players better as well. There were a lot of players last year that got better. Not only stats, but you can see with the quality of play. So, to be able to stay here longer and be with this group of guys that treat you like family, it’s good.”
Karnisovas had emerged as a finalist for Milwaukee’s GM job, and the extended decision-making process within Bucks ownership played a part in Denver’s aggressiveness to find a solution with Karnisovas’ agent, Spencer Breecker, to hold onto Karnisovas, league sources said. Karnisovas informed Bucks ownership on Wednesday afternoon that he had withdrawn from consideration, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: In an aggressive move to secure Denver’s front office, Josh Kroenke has preempted Milwaukee’s bid to hire Arturas Karnisovas as GM.
Chris Dempsey: #Nuggets have made two major front office moves. First, Arturas Karnishovas stays and is elevated to GM.
Chris Dempsey: Second, GM Tim Connelly is now #Nuggets President of Basketball Operations.
Adrian Wojnarowski: W/ Karnisovas and Bucks assistant GM Justin Zanik finalists, Milwaukee has yet to extend offer for GM job. Karnisovas withdrew in last hour. twitter.com/wojverticalnba…
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Karnisovas and Wilcox will travel to Milwaukee for additional meetings with organization officials later this week.
But while Stefanski appears to be the frontrunner for the Bucks’ GM position, sources said each of the majority owners are leaning toward other GM candidates and claim Zanik and Denver Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas are held in high regard by them.
GM Tim Connelly and his staff came on board in 2013, but there has to be something in the DNA of the Nuggets organization that has allowed the team to identify quality foreign players that other teams have missed. It’s even more impressive when you consider how interconnected the world of basketball has become since the turn of the century, when the Spurs drafted Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. “It’s hard to find a guy somewhere that nobody knows,” said Arturas Karnisovas, the Nuggets assistant GM. “These days, with social media, it’s hard to miss a guy.”
A general manager can have a player’s entire career on his laptop in a matter of seconds. The problems teams had with international scouting in the last generation have inverted. Instead of having too little information, now there’s too much. If the draft is all about finding needles in a haystack, there’s more hay than ever before. “Your list of contacts in each region has to be profound because players nowadays are coming from anywhere,” Karnisovas said. “You have to know people, from coaches to GMs to agents. You have to be familiar with all the layers.”
The biggest advantage the Nuggets have is the familiarity of their front office with the international game. Connelly was a longtime international scout, and Karnisovas was one of the greatest players in European history before starting a career in management. They still travel overseas regularly, but their man on the ground in Europe these days is Rafal Juc, a 24-year-old from Poland who has quickly made a name for himself in the industry. “Rafal is the most popular man in Europe. He’s really well connected around the continent,” said Elan Vinokurov, the president and owner of EV Hoops, a scouting and consulting service used by NBA teams. “He has established himself at a young age. When he talks about a player, you sit up and take notice.”
The Nuggets are likely to get back into the D-League business next season, according to league sources. But nothing has been decided or is imminent. Right now, the Nuggets are not affiliated with a team but can assign players to a D-League team connected to another NBA team. It has been seven years since the Nuggets last had a D-League team all to themselves. Those were the Colorado 14ers, a team that relocated to Frisco, Texas, in 2009 and became the Texas Legends. The Legends are affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks and are coached by former Nugget Eduardo Najera.
Currently, 14 teams own and operate their D-League affiliates outright. Seven are in “hybrid” partnerships, which means the NBA team runs the basketball ops of the D-League team, but local ownership runs the business. It’s unclear which direction the Nuggets would go. The Nuggets are among a group that includes Milwaukee, Atlanta, Washington and the L.A. Clippers that all could have singly affiliated D-League teams in the next few years.
Jordi Fernandez has received his NBA call-up. The Canton Charge head coach has agreed to take an assistant coaching job with the Denver Nuggets, a Charge team source confirmed Tuesday to the Canton Repository. The Denver Post first reported Fernandez’s hiring. Mike Malone is the head coach for the Nuggets and Fernandez worked with Malone on the Cavaliers staff during the 2009-10 season. Malone was a Cavs assistant from 2005-10.
And since his retirement in 2014, fans have suggested that a return to the Nuggets in a front office role could have a similar effect to a franchise that has fallen on hard times over the past three seasons. Billups isn’t ruling out the idea, and on Friday he gave some indication as to what he’d like that role to be. “If the right role was available – and I’ve always made known, I haven’t been quiet or private about it at all.”
The five-time All-Star and 2004 NBA Finals MVP joined Les Shaprio and Tyler Polumbus on Afternoon Drive on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7, where he suggested that he’d be impactful in a team-building role. “I’ve always had a passion to run a team, to put together a team,” he said. “That’s always been a passion of mine. I think I could do a phenomenal job at that.”
Denver Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly has reached agreement on a multi-year contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Connelly and his staff have earned the confidence of Denver president Josh Kroenke as they work together on reshaping the franchise’s roster and direction under first-year coach Michael Malone.
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January 16, 2018 | 9:59 pm EST Update
After the Mavericks’ shootaround at Pepsi Center on Tuesday, Dennis Smith Jr. clearly laid out his thoughts on the Verizon Slam Dunk event that will be on Saturday night, Feb. 17, in Los Angeles. “That’s something I’d like to do,” the 20-year-old said. “If I’m given the opportunity, I’m definitely willing to do it. That’s the event that I watched a lot growing up, and it’s probably the most exciting event of the All-Star weekend, except the actual game.”
If the league sticks with four dunkers, that means that a lot of quality rim-benders will be left out. “I don’t know when it happens,” Smith said, adding that he has not heard anything yet about the possibility of being in the event. “But it feels like I should be given the opportunity. It’s not my decision, though.”
Allan Horton: Bjelica postgame on his altercation with Afflalo… “I was just trying to protect myself & thank god I reacted that way [moving back to avoid the punch]. He was wild, I don’t know what’s wrong with that guy but I was just trying to protect myself.”
LeBron James reclaimed his kingdom in China from Stephen Curry — arguably the most popular current NBA star in China — in terms of jersey sales, according to the latest NBA China jersey and merchandise sales for the 2017-18 season.
Kobe Bryant, who retired at the end of the 2015-16 season, finally dropped from the top ranks of jersey sales in China. Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers were No. 1 on jersey and team merchandise lists at the beginning of 2017 and fell only to No. 2 by the end of last season.
January 16, 2018 | 9:14 pm EST Update
The reigning slam dunk champion won’t be back in time to defend his crown but would like to see Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell participate in Los Angeles just like the rest of the world. “Definitely. Just based off the highlights that I’ve seen and just watching his game. I like his game,” Glenn Robinson III said. “I know a lot of people do and a lot of fans is excited and that’s the most important part. So I think that he definitely is going to be on that list to be in it.”