Denver Nuggets Assistant Coach Tim Grgurich Leaves Team

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Denver Nuggets Assistant Coach Tim Grgurich Leaves Team

The Denver Nuggets’ offseason shakeup continues, as assistant coach Tim Grgurich has decided to leave the organization.

Grgurich has been an assistant on George Karl’s staff for the past two seasons. No reason has yet to be given for his departure.

Former Cleveland Cavalier assistant coach Melvin Hunt has been suggested as a likely replacement.


Nuggets Officially Hire Masai Ujiri As Executive V.P. Of Basketball Operations

Via this press release, the Nuggets made official their hiring of former Toronto Raptors scout Masai Ujiri, 39, as their Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. Ujiri, who previously worked in Denver from 2003 to 2007, became the frontrunner for the Nuggets’ vacant GM position when former Phoenix Suns executive David Griffin turned it down.

Though the release doesn’t mention it, Ujiri is likely to have some GM power. However, the Nuggets have an unusual front-office setup, with team adviser Bret Bearup and owner Josh Kroenke also having a say in personnel decisions. Nate Timmons of Denver Stiffs wonders if that factor worked against the Nuggets in their efforts to land Griffin:

The issue of Griffin not accepting Denver’s offer is said to be that of money, but there also may have been some desired power that Griffin wanted … all speculation on my part. Is Ujiri more willing to work alongside Josh Kroenke and Bearup with personnel decisions?

As I wrote earlier in this StoryStream, Ujiri will immediately have to address the futures of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, who are embattled in their own different ways.


Nuggets Turn To Ujiri After Griffin Rejects GM Position

Former Phoenix Suns assistant general manager David Griffin has turned down the Denver Nuggets’ head GM position, reports ESPN’s Ric Bucher, in part because Denver’s salary offer was not commensurate with what other new GMs have received this offseason. As our own Ben Golliver pointed out earlier in this StoryStream, FanHouse’s Chris Tomasson reported last night that negotiations between the Nuggets and Griffin had broken down, so that he ultimately rejected their offer is no surprise.

Now, Bucher says, the Nuggets have targeted Masai Ujiri, the Toronto Raptors’ director of global scouting, to be their next GM. “Ujiri spent four years as the Nuggets’ director of international scouting before joining the Raptors,” Bucher notes, though he does not offer an opinion on how his prior experience with the Nuggets will affect his decision to accept their GM position.

Whomever the Nuggets hire will face some immediate, pressing questions regarding the futures of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. Anthony may want out of Denver and can become an unrestricted free agent next summer, so it may behoove the Nuggets to deal him if he doesn’t agree to a contract extension. Additionally, Smith appears to have worn out his welcome in Denver, and no longer has the support of upper management. He may need to go as well.

You can follow the latest news on Anthony in this StoryStream and the latest news on Smith in this Storystream.


Report: Nuggets Honing In On Former Suns VP David Griffin For GM Job

The Denver Nuggets surprisingly let go of Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman earlier in the month, but seem to be moving quickly on finding their replacement.

While the search included names such as Toronto’s Masai Uriji, Atlanta’s Dave Pendergraft and Sacramento’s Jason Levien, Sam Amick from Aol FanHouse reports that former Phoenix Suns VP David Griffin is the Nuggets top candidate.

Griffin has close ties to Denver advisor Bret Bearup, the last of the three front office decision makers remaining after Rex Chapman and Mark Warkentien were let go earlier this month. Sources said the two spent significant time together during a pre-draft workout in Minneapolis in June, even attending a Twins baseball game. They were routinely seen together in Las Vegas during summer league as well.

A final decision is expected to come no later than next week, sources said, although it could be sooner.

One thing is for sure – he will have big shoes to fill.


Former Suns VP David Griffin Among Early Candidates For Nuggets Opening

David Griffin, who recently left the Phoenix Suns on his own after Steve Kerr wasn’t retained, is expected to be a candidate for the Denver Nuggets’ front office position(s?) according to Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears.

Former Suns GM David Griffin is also strong candidate for Nuggets GM opening, source tells Y!

With three candidates already being mentioned, this position could filled sooner than originally anticipated.


Mark Warkentien, Rex Chapman Won't Return To Nuggets' Front Office

The Denver Nuggets announced today that the contracts of front office executives Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman will not be extended for the 2010-11 NBA season.

Warkentien’s title was Vice President of Basketball Operations whereas Champman’s role was as Vice President of Player Personnel. They were the top-ranked front office members involved with basketball.

"Mark and Rex have played important roles in our success over the past several seasons," KSE Executive Vice President Paul Andrews said in a statement. "However, after meeting with both individually in recent weeks, we decided it would be best for all parties to go their separate ways. We appreciate everything that each has done for the organization and wish them nothing but the very best in the future.

"We are in the process of evaluating and restructuring the Nuggets front office and have begun a search for possible replacements as we prepare for the upcoming season."

Raptors executive Masai Ujiri and the Wizards Tommy Sheppard are expected to be top candidates to replace the duo according to Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears.

SB Nation recently ranked all 30 NBA general managers with Warkentien landing within the top five.

Warkentien got dealt a really tough hand because the previous GM, Kiki Vandeweghe, threw around money way too frivolously for an owner who doesn’t have incredibly deep pockets. Somehow, he’s managed to build a contender despite that, finding great free-agent bargains and making shrewd moves to stay in contention while also trimming some salary. The Allen Iverson move is his only blemish, but he corrected that with the Chauncey Billups trade.

The Nuggets are probably in even more of a tight spot now than ever, and Warkentien’s own future with the club is murky. But keep in mind that Warkentien inherited a lot of the cap hell the Nuggets currently have. To make the team better under those circumstances is very impressive.

It will be interesting to hear if anything else comes out of this because Warkentien was revered as a great general manager around the NBA.

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