For seven years, Kenyon Martin was a Nugget. For six of those, George Karl was his coach — and those were some pretty good Nuggets teams.
But you don’t have to like someone to work with them. Martin and Karl are not on each other’s Christmas card list.
Karl has remarked multiple times about how the current Nuggets roster — without Martin, without Carmelo Anthony, without J.R. Smith — is easier to coach. The drama is gone, the gunners are gone and Karl couldn’t be much happier with his team that runs, shares the ball and tries to beat you with balance.
Martin didn’t like all those comments, as he told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.
“Man, listen, George needs to keep his mouth shut, first and foremost,” Martin said. “Melo don’t play there no more. So Karl shouldn’t be commenting on Melo. If George was such a great coach, then Melo would want to stay. He wouldn’t want to leave.
“If the organization was ran right, he wouldn’t want to leave, so it ain’t Melo. With Melo, not one time when he was there did he bring that in the locker room when all that stuff was going on. Not one day. Everybody made it a bigger deal than it had to be. That’s a good kid. They act like this kid was a cancer, like he came in there and destroyed the locker room and made everybody hate him. No, it wasn’t nothing like that man. And it bothers me for people to be talking about how he’s a selfish player and he has to defend himself.”
So, Karl shouldn’t talk about former players but Martin can talk about former coaches and that’s cool?
Also, Carmelo didn’t bring the trade drama into the locker room? He brought it to the entire organization, from the owner to the ball boy. Anthony’s demand changed the culture in Denver. Could the Nuggets management have handled it better? You bet. But make no mistake, it all started with Anthony. If you don’t think it got into the locker room, well, you are an Anthony apologist.
Which Martin apparently is. That brings us to the comments about Anthony being selfish and questions of if he can fit with Jeremy Lin in New York. Martin has Antimony’s back.
“Smart basketball player, and the best player on that team — hands down. So I don’t understand why people are questioning whether he’s selfish or not. No, the man is not selfish. The man wants to win. He’ll do whatever it takes to win. I don’t think he’ll mess nothing up. He’s going to come in and be Carmelo Anthony.”
I’m with Martin here — Anthony has subjugated is game before to win. He did it in Syracuse to win a national title. He did it on Team USA to win a gold medal. (Although, to be fair, to take a back seat to LeBron James and Kobe Bryant is different than with Jeremy Lin.) But Martin’s right here, Antony is going to do what he thinks is best for the Knicks to win games. We’ll see how that perspective blends in.
Martin is in a great spot the rest of this season with a Clipper team that is a threat in the West. If he brings then what he’s capable they are that much closer. But what will he say about Vinny Del Negro someday?