Tag:George Karl
Posted on: October 31, 2010 12:33 am
 

Knicks cooperating with league probe

NEW YORK -- The Knicks are cooperating with a league investigation into allegations they conducted illegal pre-draft workouts, CBSSports.com has learned.

The probe, prompted by a Yahoo! Sports report this week, took the next formal step Friday when NBA commissioner David Stern revealed that the league had retained outside counsel to conduct the investigation. It is not unusual for the league to hire independent lawyers to handle sensitive investigations, as was done in the case of former referee Tim Donaghy.

When Stern was asked Friday what sort of punishment the Knicks could face if the allegations are proved to be valid, the commissioner said, "I don't want to go there. We can be very mean."

The lawyers retained to investigate the matter have yet to request interviews or documentation from the Knicks. Asked for a timetable on the probe, Stern said, "I think it’ll take a while. There doesn’t seem to be any urgency about it, other than if there are those allegations, we’ll be doing a lot to get to the bottom of it."

Yahoo! Sports reported Tuesday that the Knicks conducted workouts with collegiate prospects throughout suburban Atlanta in 2007, 2009 and 2010 during restricted periods, which would be a serious violation of NBA rules. The workouts, allegedly conducted by East Coast scouting director Rodney Heard, included prospects Wilson Chandler, whom the Knicks drafted with the 23rd pick in 2007, and former Kansas All-American Brandon Rush, who seriously injured his knee in one of the sessions, according to the Yahoo! report. Rush has admitted participating in the workouts; Chandler has denied it.

The steepest penalty on record for such violations came in 2005, when the Nuggets were fined $200,000 and coach George Karl was suspended three games for attending workouts at Marquette University that included his son, Coby.

Posted on: September 28, 2010 4:22 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2010 11:24 pm
 

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

The Carmelo Anthony saga moved to the next phase Tuesday, with the Nets trying to provide more cap relief to the Nuggets by finding a new home for Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith, CBSSports.com has learned.

It was a futile effort to revive this excruciatingly slow-moving blockbuster, which died Tuesday in its current form involving the Bobcats and Jazz. Sources say discussions will continue, however, on other fronts amid mixed priorities within the Denver front office and some lingering doubts about whether Melo will ultimately give his thumbs-up on a trade to New Jersey.

“I think he’s thumbs-sideways on it,” said one source familiar with Anthony’s stance. “He’s not 100 percent sold on it.”

Martin, whose $16.5 million expiring contract would be a valuable asset at the trade deadline, and Smith, who has a $6.8 million expiring deal and controversy wherever he goes, could be the final pieces that eventually compel the Nuggets to sign off on a divorce with Anthony. But that divorce isn't happening with the structure of the exhaustively reported four-way deal involving Utah and Charlotte. That framework, a person involved in the discussions said, is "dead." The Melo talks as a whole, however, will trudge forward.

If more cap savings is what the Nuggets want, they'd only have to take back $17.5 million under NBA trade rules for Martin and Smith, a savings of $5.8 million – twice that when you factor in luxury tax. Numerous scenarios have been explored to allow the Nuggets to send out both Martin and Smith, sources say. But despite a growing belief that the Nuggets finally are ready to acknowledge that a truce with Anthony is unattainable, conflicting priorities among Denver decision-makers have put a chill in the discussions for now.

“Denver keeps moving the goal posts,” said one person connected to the talks. “They say, ‘We want this,’ and New Jersey says, ‘We got it.’ And then Denver says, ‘Wait a minute, we want this and this.’”

Around and around they went, several weeks after the basic framework of the deal was hatched by old friends Kevin O’Connor, Larry Brown and Billy King. Sources say those three did the legwork on the four-team possibility involving New Jersey, Denver, Charlotte and Utah and brought it to the Nuggets as a potentially attractive way for them to part ways with their disgruntled superstar. O’Connor, the Jazz GM, is a former assistant coach under Brown at UCLA. Brown, the Bobcats’ coach, has known King, the Nets’ news president, since his college days at Duke – and the two worked together in Philadelphia.

Ironically, one person familiar with the negotiations said the deal probably would’ve been done by now if Charlotte hadn’t waived center Erick Dampier and his non-guaranteed $13 million contract – which would’ve been a home-run for Denver in an exchange for Martin. Including Dampier in the deal would’ve provided what a source described as “ridiculous savings” for the Nuggets – about $33 million when factoring in the tax, making the deal “a no-brainer.”

UPDATE: In the absence of that asset, the Nuggets – led by newly hired GM Masai Ujiri, 30-year-old executive Josh Kroenke and adviser Bret Bearup – insisted on trying to squeeze more out of the deal while also exploring offers from other teams. In addition to Martin and Smith, Denver officials eventually were trying to dump Renaldo Balkman in the trade. Ultimately, one executive involved in the talks said, Denver's never-ending efforts to make the deal better for them was what wound up killing it.

The other part of their protracted strategy – sitting down face-to-face with Anthony before media day Monday – may have backfired on them, too.

Ujiri, trying to take the high road in the Anthony matter, insisted on meeting with him in person before signing off on the deal – as any new GM would. Unfortunately for Ujiri, Anthony’s discontent with the direction of the organization pre-dates the new GM’s arrival – and also runs deeper than Ujiri was aware. One reason Ujiri declined to give any details of his face-to-face encounter with Anthony Monday, according to two people familiar with the exchange, was simply that there were no details. Anthony, not wanting to rehash old wounds with his new boss, politely declined to engage Ujiri in any substantive conversation about his future.

“He said, ‘I’m cool,’ and, ‘You’re going to have to talk to my reps about that,’” said one of the people familiar with the meeting. In addition, multiple reports indicated that Anthony did not participate in the promotional activities players typically perform on media day, and the Denver Post noted that his image was removed from a prominent ad on the Nuggets’ website – replaced by Ty Lawson.

As a result, one source maintained Tuesday that the Nuggets were “going to move him, like now, ASAP.” But after all the delays and frustration on all sides, that may be an optimistic take.

"The Nuggets are going to look at every single trade and they’re going to have to work with [Anthony]," another person familiar with the talks said. "And that’s really going to slow the whole process down.”

Further complicating matters, sources say Karl is not going to be as influential in trying to keep Anthony in Denver as first believed. With the departure of Karl’s biggest supporter, former GM Mark Warkentien, and his top assistant, Tim Grgurich, Karl is unsure where he stands in the organization as he returns from his heroic cancer fight with one year left on his contract. The result has been tension – or at least uneasiness – among Karl, his staff and the newly formed front office. Plus, while Karl knows that he has a 50-win playoff team with Anthony and a rebuilding team without him, sources say the 59-year-old coach is growing tired of the MeloDrama and isn’t relishing the strain that it could place on him and the team.




Posted on: September 26, 2010 10:13 pm
 

Melodrama: Will Anthony be in camp Monday?

As the Carmelo Anthony trade talks careen toward an inevitable tipping point, the key question is this: If Melo isn’t dealt by the time the Nuggets convene for media day Monday, will the disgruntled superstar be there?

Despite noise coming from Anthony’s camp – in particular, according to sources, from influential adviser William Wesley – that Anthony either won’t show for camp or will make things ugly if he does, there was no word Sunday from Anthony himself as to whether he’ll be in Denver this week.

“If Melo doesn’t show,” said one person connected to the trade negotiations, “it’s disaster mode for them.”

While Nuggets officials are holding out hope that a face-to-face meeting with Anthony could change things, sources familiar with the hard-line stance being taken by Anthony and his agents at Creative Artists Agency see that as a combination of wishful thinking and desperation. It’s been a month since Denver hired former Toronto personnel man Masai Ujiri to replace Mark Warkentien as GM, and Ujiri still has not been able to arrange an in-person meeting with Anthony.

So Ujiri, facing his first major crisis as a top basketball executive, has spent more time meeting with Nets president Billy King – whom he and fellow Denver exec Josh Kroenke convened with in New York last week – than with Anthony himself. And that wasn’t the only meeting of importance in the past 72 hours, CBSSports.com has learned. Wesley, long an unofficial master of NBA maneuverings who is now a full-fledged CAA agent, sat down last week in New York with Nets minority owner Jay-Z in an effort to pave the way for Anthony’s arrival, a person with direct knowledge of the meeting said.

Anthony’s insistence on forcing his way out of Denver, the mounting pressure on Ujiri to get the best deal possible, and the prospect of an ugly scene with Melo in Denver this week had one person connected to the trade talks predicting Sunday that Anthony would be traded in the next 24-48 hours.

“Better than a 50 percent chance,” said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the teams’ business.

Given the lack of public fanfare that has surrounded Melo’s trade demand – the words “trade me” have never come out of his mouth – my personal prediction is that Anthony will show up at media day and training camp as long as he’s a Nugget. But even sources who acknowledge that Anthony would want to avoid the image hit that would come with a no-show or negative-show believe that any positive spin offered by Anthony in the coming days would only be for public consumption. As with Chris Paul in New Orleans, making waves publicly would only hurt Anthony’s chances of getting shipped to one of his ideal destinations because it would erode whatever leverage Denver has.

A desire to meet face-to-face with Anthony, however, isn’t the only factor keeping Denver from pulling the trigger on a deal. No, Nuggets officials don’t want to finalize a trade before hearing from Melo directly. But sources say there also are reservations among some of the decision makers in the Nuggets’ front office about accepting No. 3 pick Derrick Favors as the biggest asset in return for Anthony. Some Denver officials, sources say, have a strong preference for Joakim Noah or Blake Griffin. For that reason, it is believed that the Bulls or Clippers could jump ahead of the Nets in the sweepstakes if they’d agree to include one of those respective players. As of Sunday, however, there was no movement on either front.

Only more waiting, and the countdown to the next unofficial deadline in the Melo saga: His whereabouts when the Nuggets report for camp Monday.
Posted on: September 26, 2010 7:14 pm
 

Nuggets exploring their options

There was renewed hope Sunday that a four-team trade sending Carmelo Anthony to the Nets was still alive, with the framework of the deal possibly expanding to include additional players and possibly another team, CBSSports.com has learned.

But a weekend of inertia continued to frustrate the three teams Denver hastily recruited to accelerate Anthony’s departure, with executives standing firm in their belief that the longer the delay, the stronger the chance that the precarious structure of the trade could fall apart.

Among New Jersey, Utah and Charlotte, sources say least concerned were the Nets, who understandably have “no deadline” to pull off the blockbuster, franchise-shaping deal. The problem is with the pieces volunteered by the Jazz and Bobcats, who’d benefit the least from the arrangement and want to avoid unnecessary distractions heading into training camp this week. Charlotte’s role in the existing deal would be to send Boris Diaw to Utah and receive Devin Harris from the Nets, while Utah would send Andre Kirilenko to the Nuggets, who’d get No. 3 pick Derrick Favors and two first-round picks from New Jersey. Quinton Ross also would go from New Jersey to Utah.

“No one wants to go to camp with drama,” said one executive not involved in the pursuit of Anthony, who ignited the sweepstakes by refusing to sign a three-year, $65 million extension while his high-powered agents, Leon Rose and William Wesley, pushed hard all summer for a trade.

Sources say the Nuggets have been taking full advantage of the holding pattern in talks to listen to offers from other teams – though executives with knowledge of the situation do not believe a better offer has presented itself. The Bulls and Clippers, two teams with attractive assets and a realistic chance of persuading Anthony to sign an extension with them, have not progressed beyond the packages they initially brought to Denver’s attention. Some signs Sunday pointed to the revival of talks between Denver and Philadelphia with Andre Iguodala going to the Nuggets, but there was no signal from Anthony’s camp that he’d softened in his opposition to bringing his talents to South Philly.

Another player the Nuggets have targeted as a viable asset to recover in an Anthony trade, Anderson Varejao, remains a long shot for the same reason; Anthony isn’t going to Cleveland, the city that superstar LeBron James fled in July as though the Cuyahoga River were on fire.

So on the second front, the Nuggets are trying to determine whether another player within the current framework of the deal or even a fifth team would be able to further sweeten the reward for parting with the organization’s best player in two decades. The Nets are said to have “exhausted” the options available to the Nuggets in the current structure of the trade, with one possibility having Harris going to Denver instead of Charlotte. What Nuggets officials are weighing there, according to an executive with knowledge of the talks, is whether Harris might have more value as a trade chip than Kirilenko – an indication that Denver would view itself as being in full-blown cost-cutting and rebuilding mode without Anthony in the fold. Kirilenko, with a $17.8 million expiring contract, would seem to have more value than Harris, who is owed $27 million over the next three years. The Nuggets have not asked the Bobcats for Gerald Wallace, according to one executive familiar with the negotiations.

With nothing happening to push the discussions any closer to completion or extinction, Anthony could very well still be a Nugget during media day Monday at the Pepsi Center, which brings the saga to its next critical turning point. Anthony’s presence around the team will give GM Masai Ujiri his first chance to sit down face-to-face with the superstar and hear directly from him on his level of comfort with the best offer the team has received to move him.

Coach George Karl, whose ability to influence Anthony’s position should not be underestimated, also will have a chance to be in the room. This way, Nuggets officials will be able to hear first-hand from Anthony where he stands on the direction of the organization and his comfort level with joining a New Jersey team that would still be one major piece away from championship contention after adding Anthony. To this point, the vast majority of communication with Denver officials has come from Anthony’s advisers with Creative Artists Agency – most notable Rose and Wesley, who staunchly favor a trade to pastures they argue are greener than in Denver.

What the Nuggets are hoping, at the risk of jeopardizing the best offer they may get, is that Anthony’s angst will subside once he’s back with the only team he’s known during his seven-year career. He may conclude that he wouldn’t be much better off somewhere else.
Posted on: September 23, 2010 4:44 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Denver Nuggets

Let the Melodrama begin. A little more than a year after a trip to the Western Conference finals, the Nuggets are on the verge of implosion. Superstar Carmelo Anthony wants a trade, but first he's going to have to show up at training camp Monday and answer questions about it for days on end. George Karl is back from his valiant cancer fight -- without trusted assistant Tim Grgurich and with a long list of issues. Karl, perhaps, is the Nuggets last, best hope to talk Melo out of wanting out.

Training camp site: Pepsi Center, Denver 

Training camp starts: Sept. 28 

Key additions: Al Harrington (free agent), Shelden Williams (free agent). 

Key subtractions: Johan Petro (free agent), Joey Graham (free agent), Malik Allen (free agent). 

Likely starting lineup: Chauncey Billups, PG; Arron Afflalo, SG; Carmelo Anthony, SF; Al Harrington, PF; Nene, C. 

Player to watch: All eyes are on Melo. If he’s not traded by the time camp opens Monday – and all signs point to not –then the Melodrama will only get thicker and thicker. There’s zero chance Anthony refuses to show up for camp; he is an image-conscious superstar who is going about his trade request professionally, as opposed to the Rudy Fernandez scorched-Earth approach in Portland, for example. (Plus, Melo doesn’t want to be fined, nor would he disrespect George Karl that way.) But how Anthony responds to the media attention, how he interacts with his teammates after weeks of news reports, and ultimately whether he’s able to reconnect with Karl will be the three biggest stories of camp for Denver. 

Chemistry check: This should be a happy time, with Karl returning to the bench after missing much of last season due to cancer treatments. As usual, Karl has a restless locker room to deal with – and Melo isn’t the only problem. Kenyon Martin openly questioned whether the Nuggets got better this summer. J.R. Smith needs to go. The Nuggets cleaned out their front office, too, jettisoning 2008-09 executive of the year Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman and hiring Toronto assistant Masai Ujiri while giving more power to adviser Bret Bearup and executive Josh Kroenke. Oh, and Karl’s longtime assistant, Tim Grgurich, isn’t coming back. That’s all – so far. 

Injury watch: Martin and Chris Andersen are expected to miss the early part of the season as they recover from knee injuries. 

On the spot: Ujiri. While he technically won’t have final say on whether to trade Anthony, where to trade him, or for what, dealing the franchise cornerstone will be on his resume one way or another. 

Camp battles: Harrington, Williams and Renaldo Balkman are in the mix for playing time in the frontcourt while Martin and Andersen are out. 

Biggest strength: Well, that depends on whether you’re talking with Melo or without. With Melo, they have one of the top five or six players in the NBA paired with Billups, a savvy floor leader who probably has one more season of championship-caliber play in him. Without Melo, it depends on what they get for him. 

Glaring weakness: Stability. In a few short weeks, or at most, months, the momentum of seven straight playoff appearances (including one conference finals appearance) and three consecutive 50-win seasons could go up in smoke if and when they have to move Melo. In the short term, Denver’s weakness will be up front with Martin and Andersen out – which explains their pursuit of Erick Dampier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and other bigs this summer.
Posted on: August 3, 2010 6:54 pm
 

Warkentien, Chapman out in Denver shakeup

The Nuggets decided Tuesday not to renew the contracts of front office executives Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman, a shakeup that has been expected for months.

Paul Andrews, executive vice president of Kroenke Sports Enterprises, announced the changes in a news release in which he said, "We decided that it would be best for all parties to go their separate ways."

The real question is how the front-office shakeup will affect Carmelo Anthony's posture on a three-year, $65 million extension that he has yet to sign. Anthony's indecision has fueled speculation that he wants to test the free-agent market next summer -- barring a lockout -- and that he wants to see the direction the Nuggets are headed before signing it. As of Tuesday, there were more questions than ever about that direction.

Warkentien, the 2008-09 NBA executive of the year, never received a formal extension offer even though his contract was set to expire this month, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Seeing the shakeup on the horizon, Warkentien obtained permission to speak with other teams about various GM openings. He got permission to speak with the Knicks about a potential front-office vacancy as team president Donnie Walsh's day-to-day GM, but that opening never materialized. It now appears that the Knicks will not add a person to the front office and will instead expand the duties of former player Allan Houston, who has been training under Walsh and played an important role during free agency.

Warkentien also received permission to interview for the Suns' GM position vacated by Steve Kerr's departure, and interviewed over the phone for the job, which went to former player agent Lon Babby.

Chapman, rumored to be on the way out with Warkentien since CBSSports.com reported in March that owner Stan Kroenke was planning sweeping front-office changes, recently interviewed for the Hornets' GM job that went to former Spurs executive Dell Demps. Josh Kroenke, Stan's son and the eventual owner of the Nuggets, is expected to take on an expanded role in Denver's new front-office structure.

Coach George Karl said recently he is committed to returning to the sideline next season after recovering from cancer treatments, but added, "It's not a guarantee."




Posted on: December 7, 2009 2:41 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2009 4:04 pm
 

Karl: NBA should fight back against Donaghy

PHILADELPHIA -- Nuggets coach George Karl sat on the scorer's table at the Wachovia Center Monday morning, perusing the box score I'd printed out and handed to him after his team's shootaround. The game in question -- the Jan. 6, 2007 game between Karl's Nuggets and the Utah Jazz -- didn't evoke any particular memories about the officiating.

"My belief has always been that refereeing in the NBA is an impossible job," Karl said. "You’re never happy."

In light of former ref Tim Donaghy's assertion Sunday night on 60 Minutes that he had conspired with two fellow crew members to officiate then-Denver star Allen Iverson unfairly in a game Donaghy had wagered on, Karl couldn't recall whether the whistle went against his team that night. But the Denver coach has very strong feelings about what the NBA and coaching community should do to combat Donaghy's allegations, which are only beginning to come to light.

The NBA, Karl said, should start fighting back.

"There’s circumstances in life that a lot of people don’t want to go into the battle, the Heat of the kitchen," Karl said. "But maybe it’s necessary right now to go in there."

Karl suggested a town-hall meeting where coaches, general managers, and league officials could address en masse Donaghy's continuing efforts to further undermine the NBA's integrity, which he damaged by betting on games -- many of which he officiated -- and passing information to gamblers. Donaghy pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges and was released from prison last month after serving nearly all of his 15-month sentence. The 60 Minutes interview was his first, with more national appearances to come with the release of his book detailing the scandal, "Personal Foul."

"It’s a tough place for me to comment and the league to comment," Karl said. "They should have a town hall meeting, and that one day we can say whatever we want to say and get it over with. Because if it has to linger around for the next six weeks, when the book comes out and when he’s on TV all the time, then we’re going to be responding to questions that the league probably doesn’t want us to respond to. But in this same sense, maybe there should be a forum. Let’s address this one time or two times and then let it go. For me that’s the way I would like it.

"Put 10 guys in the league or 20 guys -- two coaches, two GMs, a couple of guys from the league office, a couple of referees," Karl said. "Sit them down and have some forum of discussion on all the details and subjects so you have enough information so you can write whatever you want to write, rather than every day he tells another story or the book comes out and we’re responding to this over six weeks or eight weeks. I think it’ll become very tedious."

In the 60 Minutes interview, Donaghy said he bet on the Jazz that night because he had conspired with the other two officials -- Bernie Fryer and Gary Zielinski -- to punish Iverson with their whistles. A day earlier, Iverson had been fined $25,000 by the league for criticizing referee Steve Javie, a punishment Donaghy said the referees felt was too lenient. CBSSports.com reviewed the play-by-play and video clips of key plays Iverson was involved in and found that the Nuggets' star didn't get an unfavorable whistle. Iverson committed two fouls and drew nine in the game, attempting more free throws than any other player that night; he made 11 of 12. Also, on Iverson's 12 drives to the basket, he made two driving layups, missed four, lost the ball once, and drew five fouls.

While Karl didn't remember the officiating nuances in the game, he did point out several factors that might've compelled even the most casual gambler to pick the Jazz: Denver played without Carmelo Anthony (suspended) and Marcus Camby (hand injury). J.R. Smith also didn't play, though that was a coaching decision and wouldn't have been known prior to the game.

"There seemed to have been a lot of things that were not good for us in that game," Karl said.

The NBA has declined to make Fryer, Zielinski, or any other league official available for an interview to address Donaghy's latest allegations. Stern issued a statement after the 60 Minutes program aired dismissing Donaghy's assertions and saying that any allegations about officiating improprieties would be forwarded to former federal prosecutor Lawrence Pedowitz for review.
Posted on: May 28, 2009 5:30 am
 

Nuggets accuse Lakers of buying a win

LOS ANGELES -- An NBA playoff series doesn't begin until you have a good ol' referee conspiracy.

Conspiracy theory, I should add.

And a deeply flawed one.

Nonetheless, we're in for an interesting day in the Los Angeles area Thursday now that a member of the Nuggets has told the Denver Post -- anonymously, of course -- that he believes the Lakers bought their 103-94 victory over the Nuggets in Game 5 Wednesday night for the very reasonable price of $50,000.

For those keeping score at home, that's how much Lakers coach Phil Jackson and the Lakers paid in fines for complaining about the officiating after Game 4.

"The Lakers paid $50,000 to win that game," the anonymous Nuggets player told the Post. "They got their money's worth."

The player did not allow his name to be used, for fear of retribution from the league, the Post reported. But let's be fair. The player didn't allow his name to be used because he didn't want to pay a fine himself for such a salacious comment. If I were Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke, I'd make it my business to find out who said that, and deduct the inevitable fine that will be assessed to the Nuggets from his paycheck.

If it was Kenyon Martin, for example, I'd ask him to forfeit $10,000 of his game check for each of the nine shots he missed from the field.

If it was Nene, for instance, I'd ask him to pay up for each of the 33 points Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom combined to score in the paint that he was supposed to have been defending.

It doesn't matter who said it, really. What matters is that the Nuggets have resorted to a different sort of dirty trick than the one that raised Jackson's ire after Game 4. This was worse than Dahntay Jones tripping Kobe Bryant in that game. This reeked of sour grapes.

The Nuggets were called for 30 personal fouls in Game 5 Wednesday night. The Lakers were called for 22. The resulting disparity of five free throws wasn't enough to account for the nine-point difference on the scoreboard. But that's not the point.

I don't pretend to have watched all 52 fouls called in the game, nor have I gone frame-by-frame through all the fouls that weren't called. And as busy as I'll be Thursday getting reaction from the various parties involved, I won't have time. But that's not the point. To the naked eye, it was a liberally officiated game at both ends of the floor by referees Monty McCutcheon, Ron Garretson, and Tom Washington. Obvious contact in the act of shooting and/or driving to the basket was ignored at both ends.

Before the game, Jackson playfully commented on his $25,000 fine -- an additional $25,000 was assessed to the Lakers -- by saying, "I'm a gardener. I like planting seeds. Constantly."

After the game, Nuggets coach George Karl channeled his inner Stan Van Gundy, lamenting the fact that playoff games have turned into a contest of which coach can gripe the most in hopes of influencing the officials.

"I'm not going to get fined," said Karl, who proceeded to make comments that almost certainly will get him fined. "... It was a difficult whistle to play, no question about that. Every player in my locker room is frustrated, from guards to big guys. Look at the stat sheet. Gasol goes after at least 20 jump shots and 20 shots to the rim and gets one foul. Our big guys have 16. I don't know. Nene has six fouls; three or four of them don't exist. And it's frustrating when you take one of your big guys off the court for that many minutes.

"I think Stan Van Gundy says it right," Karl continued. "In the postgame, we're lobbying for the league to help us with the refereeing. And this is too good a series. It's too good of teams competing that we're sitting here just confused by the whistle."

I don't think the referees had anything to do with the Nuggets' 5-for-21 shooting in the fourth quarter. I don't think the referees had anything to do with Denver's four consecutive turnovers in the third, when the Lakers started making their move. But I disagree with one anonymous Nuggets player -- speaking for the entire locker room, apparently. We'll see Thursday, when the teams speak with the media before flying to Denver, if anybody backs him up.

My guess? It's going to be a costly day for both sides.
Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
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