Friday, June 7, 2013 2:26pm
Thoughts after just having attended Josh Kroenke’s “why I fired George Karl press conference”:
- Josh said his reason to not go forward with Karl had to do with needing to “err on the side of caution rather than err on the side of certainty.” He also added that “nine years is a long time” and that a “fresh start for everyone is in our best interest.” While Kroenke did his best to reinforce that the dismissal of Karl was not performance-based, it’s hard to take anything else away from his words.
- Kroenke addressed the bizarre situation of having both the NBA’s Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year gone from the organization by saying, “I’m not here to win awards, I’m here to win banners.” Again, the lack-of-playoff-success as the reason for Karl’s dismissal was continuously debunked by Kroenke in the press conference, but it’s impossible to pick out any different reason.
- There was also a point of emphasis toward the end of the press conference on how good the roster currently is in Denver, and how it should still be trending upward. And it should be. The core of this team is Ty Lawson turning 26 in November, Danilo Gallinari who will be 25 at the start of the season and whom Kroenke is “very confident” will play next year, Kenneth Faried who turns 24 in November, Javale McGee turning 26 in January, and Wilson Chandler who is currently 26. The Spurs and the Heat, the two teams playing in the NBA Finals, both have an average age above 28. This Nuggets group is headed into their prime, but as Kroenke pointed out, this team “doesn’t know how to win yet.” That’s the next coach’s job.
- Kroenke revealed very little on his coaching search, saying he wanted to keep things close to the vest, but did say he has a very versatile roster that can adapt to different styles, and he’s open to different styles of play. That means Kroenke is not married to the sprint-the-floor style that has been so pervasive here in Denver and produced very little postseason success.
- As for the future of Nuggets basketball, Kroenke made it clear he will maintain final-say authority over the organization’s moves. While he also has that authority with the Avalanche, he’s more likely to acquiesce to Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy than he will be with basketball decisions, as that sport is in very much in Kroenke’s area of lifelong expertise.
My final takeaway from today: Josh Kroenke wanted to see more, and clearly gave George Karl every opportunity to give him more. Rather than enter a season without having extended his head coach and thus face the many questions that brings, from the media and fans, and more importantly, from the coach himself and the players, Kroenke chose to go in a different direction and bring a fresh perspective to his basketball team. Karl was a very good coach for the organization, and this clearly wasn’t an easy decision for Kroenke, but the old story of getting knocked out in the first round was getting just that: old.