George Karl comments on his new team moments after finding his star Carmelo Anthony has been traded to the New York Knicks
Posted by Matt Moore
George Karl has beaten cancer twice. He's a Hall of Fame head coach, a loving father, and by all accounts a simply stand-up guy. But his patience was tested this year with the constant shadow of the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors. With Anthony traded to New York late Monday night, Karl spoke with reporters and reflected on the bittersweet transition of his team from a playoff contender to a rebuilding project.
Karl is clearly not happy about the developments. He's been through this before, but it doesn't make it any easier. He's now in charge of a team that is both rebuilding and trying to make the playoffs. But Karl knows that without a superstar, the Nuggets have a concrete ceiling above the first round. He carefully dodges the question of what he thinks of the players he's getting, but it would have been easier for him to throw out general, positive terms. He elects for "exciting" which is never something a coach wants. A coach wants experienced. A coach wants talented. But exciting? George Karl has J.R. Smith, he doesn't need exciting.
Perhaps most interesting, though, is Karl's reluctance to answer regarding the developing trend of NBA players dictating their own destinies with no regard for the teams who drafted them or the players around them. Karl's wise to want to ponder that one carefully before answering.
But most frustrating for Karl? Half of these players he just acquired may not be around in three days. It's a lot of change for a guy who's been in Denver for quite some time to deal with. Of all the people who have been jerked around by the Melo situation, Karl was the one no one wanted to see suffer because of the nonsense.
Karl uses the phrase "reinvent" several times, which may be the best word for what the Nuggets are trying to do. Maintain competitive basketball while looking to the future. But inventing a superstar? That's going to take more tricks than Karl or Masai Ujiir can provide.