NBA Franchise Notes: Kroenke Taking The Reins In Reshaping Nuggets
In Denver, Christopher Dempsey wrote the Nuggets have two "potentially franchise-changing hires to make," and team President Josh Kroenke said that he "wants one thing above all else: unity." Kroenke on Friday said, "What we just did with the Avalanche is what we're going to do with the Nuggets now. We have an opportunity to unite the whole organization, from top to bottom. The best organizations across all sports have a singular goal and a singular vision on how to get there." Kroenke "didn't place a timetable on when he wants to hire a general manager or coach." He said that it "didn't much matter which order the two were named" (DENVER POST, 6/8). In Colorado Springs, Paul Klee wrote, "We learned to dismiss the notion Josh is simply a figurehead for his father's Kroenke Sports Enterprise, a kid with a hefty title but little pull. We learned who is -- and will be for the next decade or three -- calling the shots at Pepsi Center" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 6/8).
HOOSIER HUSTLE: In Indianapolis, Mike Wells wrote, "The deep financial hole the Pacers have been in for so many years isn’t completely behind them." But team Owner Herb Simon said that he "feels his franchise is turning the corner." Wells wrote the Pacers "are set to be competitive for years to come, and if the support they received during the playoffs is any indication, the fans who once turned their backs on the franchise are now supporting them." The franchise ranked 20th in the NBA in attendance capacity this season, playing to 84.4% of the capacity at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers "sold out all nine home games" during the playoffs (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 6/9).
PEACH COBBLED? In Atlanta, Chris Vivlamore reported the Hawks are "awaiting word from the NBA on whether letters sent to perspective ticket buyers that mentioned Dwight Howard and Chris Paul violated the league’s anti-tampering policy." The letters were "sent by a season-ticket representative who was terminated after the team reported the likely violation to the league." It is possible that the NBA "would like to avoid announcing a violation during the NBA Finals" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/8).
THE DINOSAUR PROJECT: In Toronto, Cathal Kelly wrote of the Raptors potentially changing the team's name, "The name is a citywide blight, on every level from metaphorical to allegorical to literal." Kelly: "Did these people watch ['Jurassic Park']? The dinosaurs lost in the end. This at least makes this performance sinkhole thematically consistent from the jump." Choosing the Raptors name was the "worst decision in naming history since the creation of the Holy Roman Empire." The name "needs to go, and if we’re really talking about renting a bin and throwing out a bunch of useless junk, it’s the first thing on the pile." Kelly: "Most everything else needs to go as well, but this is top priority. Hopefully, the weight of what follows will crush all memory of it" (TORONTO STAR, 6/8).
EMPIRE OF THE SUNS: In Phoenix, Paul Coro writes upon Suns GM Ryan McDonough "hitting his one-month Suns anniversary" yesterday, he is "so acclimated that his 'the Suns' references are vanishing to ones for 'we.'" McDonough "seems cool under fire," as he acted "coolly and quickly with his coaching selection of Jeff Hornacek, identifying and recruiting new front-office staff for a scouting staff remodel and proving to have a head full of knowledge at the ready about draft prospects." McDonough has "created a conduit among all levels of the organization that was lacking since Steve Kerr was GM" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/10).