Karl hasn't succeeded particularly well, and if you didn't know better you'd have called EMS during the Nuggets' playoff games last season. Because it seemed Karl, who generally travels more on the sidelines during games than Allen Iverson going to the basket, had gone comatose. Karl sat in his chair, seemingly stunned at the indifference and incompetence of his team. Or he was dead.
I'm happy to report Karl is alive; it's the Nuggets who are dead.
Having apparently noticed this himself, Karl recently told a friend that he was going to be coaching his way now, that his time of acceding to his dysfunctional bunch is over. Actually he said something crude on the order of having done it all just for the money these last few seasons with his uncoachable bunch. We'll not lower ourselves here to that sort of language, though it all puts new meaning to the idea of being out late and walking around the streets.
Nevertheless, it's too late for the Nuggets. Owner Stan Kroenke finally realized that he was running an organization only James Dolan could appreciate. And Kroenke couldn't raise cable TV bills every time he made a bad signing, like Dolan.
The Nuggets paid the second-biggest luxury tax last season, almost $20 million to be divided among lesser spending partners in the NBA for the thrill of barely making the playoffs and then again being blown away in the first round.
Karl had a good view of it from his seat.
C'mon George, if you're not going to do anything, we can sell that seat for $1,000 a game.
The problem, though, was whom he was watching, and we really all knew it would be a problem. We all said it wouldn't work, but you have to give even a bad idea a chance.
You've got an offensive-minded, selfish scorer and pre-hyped star in Carmelo Anthony. Actually, a pretty good talent. But you surround him with guys who like to shoot and not defend much, like Allen Iverson and J.R. Smith, and then way, way, way overpay some role-playing forwards in Kenyon Martin and Nene Hilario and hope they'll play to their salary instead of their ability.
C'mon, this really had no chance, and now Kroenke knows as well.
So this is what he said, what Clippers owner Donald Sterling has said for many years until recently, what Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley is saying now: Why keep spending money on speculation and getting nothing from it? Half the fans will show up anyway, just to see the other team. So cut the payroll drastically and live with the losses and break even. And better yet, collect from those morons playing out their fantasies by going into the luxury tax without a true star.
You don't have much chance of winning in the NBA without one, and the Nuggets really don't have one.
Yes, Anthony is close. But dealing for Iverson was a disaster. It put Anthony in the position many expected and Denver most feared: My turn, your turn with Iverson.
You have to have both on the court, and neither plays much defense or cares to.
That was left to Marcus Camby, who did a very good job at it.
He became the air traffic controller in one of those Airplane movies. Guys were driving from all directions as Iverson, Anthony, and Co. waved them in and ran out for layups, leaving Camby back to block a shot, get a rebound and usually take the ball out of the basket and watch Anthony or Iverson dribble around.
So Karl now says he's had enough, and presumably that means he's going to coach the right way: order actual passing and defense. Good luck.
Because the Nuggets then gave away Camby not because they didn't like him or blamed him for their failings, as he erroneously thought, but because his salary was the only big one they could get rid of.
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