Harrison Wind: Nuggets Assistant GM Calvin Booth on Michael Porter Jr’s health: “I think Michael is feeling good. Obviously, his back has to be monitored but once we get him here and have our training staff, we’ll assess and come up with a plan of action and follow through with that plan.”
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Nick Kosmider: Nuggets assistant GM Calvin Booth: “Coming into this process, we wouldn’t never thought that Michael would have there at that point in the draft. To come up with him is just unbelievable.”
With the Nuggets, Karnisovas has helped construct a roster of players who combine a specific physical profile, versatile skill set and intangibles such as drive and selflessness. He continues to relish the bonds he’s built in a job he estimates is 80 percent human interaction. And, naturally, Denver’s current group is filled with international flavor. Point guard Jamal Murray and reserve forward Trey Lyles were born in Canada. Two-way wing Torrey Craig was discovered playing professionally in Australia. And the Serbian Nikola Jokic has blossomed from a relatively unknown second-round pick into one of the most versatile big men in the game. “Arturas was the one who was wanting it more for me to come here, so it’s kind of cool,” Jokic said. “He’s European, and he knows how European basketball (works). He played with some Serbian players. He knows our mentality. Of course he can help me a lot, just adapting to the basketball (in the NBA).”
These days, Connelly jokes that Karnisovas should wear a white lab coat to work because of his affinity for structure, organization and preparation. A visit to his office confirms that mentality. The wall behind his desk is filled with a color-coded grid featuring every player on every roster in the NBA, including those on two-way contracts. “We have a lot of similar friends and experiences, but I can be all over the place,” Connelly said. “I think, collectively, we do a good job of helping each other and kind of keeping each other in check and challenging each other.”
If you take Murray’s averages from Dec. 1 to the end of the season (60 games), they were All-Star worthy numbers: 17.8 points, 45.9 percent shooting, 41.3 percent from the 3-point line, 90.1 percent from the free throw line, 3.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists per game. Murray had a team-leading plus-minus of plus-9.7 in April. And to think, he began training camp in a battle for the starting point guard spot. He ended it as the unquestioned starter, a player vital to any success the Nuggets were having, and a player the Nuggets view as a core player going forward. “He is a guy that likes to be challenged,” said Nuggets president of basketball operations, Tim Connelly. “I think he is a guy that has a chance to be special.”
The tough aspect of Jokic being himself on the offensive end of the floor is that it is both necessary and a gamble. For as talented as Jokic is, his aggressiveness can waver from time to time — especially as a scorer. While no one knows exactly why Jokic’s aggressiveness can come and go, one anonymous member of the Nuggets’ front office told Mile High Sports that he thinks that maybe Jokic’s issue is that playing offense is just a bit too easy for him.
“We all know he can make the pass, but sometimes he’s almost too bored with the game and chooses not to shoot or look to the basket for some reason,” a Nuggets’ front office source told Mile High Sports. “When he decides he’s going to attack the basket, it makes it that much harder on the defense because he can still pass out at any moment.”
Jared Jeffries, the former Nuggets scouting director and ex-Knicks forward, told The Post that Emmanuel Mudiay desperately needed out of Denver before his entire career was shot. “I know how tough it was for [general manager] Tim [Connelly] and [owner] Josh [Kroenke] to let him go,’’ Jeffries told The Post in a phone interview. “They did the right thing for the kid. They could’ve held on to him to the point of no return and ruin his career. It’s really good the Knicks trusted what they believed at draft time and got him for a discount. If he’s on top of the world and playing great, you’re not going to get him for that.”
“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.”
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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July 19, 2018 | 7:03 pm EDT Update
David Aldridge: Sixers got involved with deal after Nemanja Bjelica pulled out of verbal agreement to sign with Philly. It left a need for another big/floor stretcher which @Mike Muscala (@PL_MBB !) can help fill. Career 38 percent shooter from three with Hawks.
So this summer, you fully expected to continue on in Indy? Lance Stephenson: Ah, man. I never … I was even surprised when they declined by option. Just to be a free agent again this year was like, ‘Man, again…” I was definitely upset, but you move on from stuff like that, and you learn and you get stronger from it.
You haven’t closed the door on Indiana, though? It’s weird to think a guy could come back three times. Lance Stephenson: [laughs] You never know, man. My job right now is to kill this year and find a home. This is a big opportunity playing with one of the greatest to ever play the game. Always playing against him now to play with him, it’s going to be different.
Have you talked with George Hill about playing alongside LeBron? Lance Stephenson: No. I try not to ask people about him. I rather go in here with a fresh attitude and not asking other people what is it like or anything like that. I want to get my opinion and my own feel for it. I’m coming into it with a fresh mind.
Unlike the Miami Marlins, who have severed ties with the Papa John’s after revelations that founder John Schnatter used a racial slur about African-Americans during a conference call in May, the Miami Heat said Thursday that the team remains “in a holding pattern” regarding their marketing and promotional partnership with the pizza chain.