George Karl has been adamant about the fact that he is more relaxed this season. Now that the Nuggets are without a true superstar, Karl has more control over his locker room and a team that is more willing to buy into his philosophy. With a record of 17-15, Denver has exceeded expectations through the first half of the shortened season. One of Karl’s former players, Kenyon Martin, feels that the Nuggets coach should stop talking about what a hassle his former players were.
“Man, listen, George needs to keep his mouth shut, first and foremost,” Martin told Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick. “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.”
Melo may not have discussed wanting a trade in the actual locker room, but there was no question the issue became a cloud over the organization. Karl said this season that he grew tired of the whole situation with Melo last year, but who wouldn’t? It can be almost impossible to do your job as a coach with a disgruntled superstar on the team. In a certain sense, Martin is right. Karl needs to let it go and focus on the team he has now. That doesn’t mean Carmelo was completely innocent, either.