George Karl was "surprised" the Nuggets let go Mark Warkentien

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Thumbnail image for George_Karl.jpgUltimately, here is what it comes down to when Carmelo Anthony looks at that three-year, $65 million extension the Denver Nuggets put on the table:

Do I trust the organization?

Does he trust their management? Does he trust that they can keep a winner on the court? Does he trust the new regime of Josh Kroenke and Masai Ujiri?

We don’t know what Anthony thinks about all that (although we can guess by his reported actions). But you can bet he took note that the big name coach Denver has was caught off guard when former Vice President of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien was let go. That’s what George Karl told the Denver Post.

“The change surprised me,” Karl said. “Mark and I, I can’t deny, have been good friends for over 10 years. I don’t talk to Mark everyday, but I still talk to him every other day. I want Mark to get a job. He deserves a job. He’s very talented. He deserves to be in the NBA.”

Karl was in on the hiring of Ujiri, who he also is a friend of and a guy Karl respects.

Karl seems to have turned his attention to on the court, where this season the Nuggets should be pretty good. Although without Kenyon Martin and Chris Anderson for much of the campaign they may take a little step back in the regular season. Newly acquired Al Harrington will help there, but he will not fill the entire frontline gap.

But if they are healthy come the playoffs they are a threat. If healthy they can be on that second tier in the West behind the Lakers but in the mix with the San Antonio’s of the world.

However, the bigger questions in Denver are not about this season but the future. About keeping Anthony, first. Although Ujiri will sit down with him, Anthony knows that the young Kroenke — who already sat down with Anthony — is the real power in Denver.

Anthony has sat back and watched the Nuggets this offseason, seen a coach surprised by front office moves. That is not a sign of a cohesive, well working front office. Anthony seems to have decided that ultimately, the trust isn’t there right now. The only questions left are if Denver can change that, or what they can get for him in a trade.

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?