Adrian Dantley: ‘George Karl Fired Me’

by June 27, 2011
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Differences between head coach George Karl and his assistant Adrian Dantley led to the Denver Nuggets not renewing Dantley’s contract, and things seem to have ended on a rather nasty note. From Denver Stiffs: “Oh, yeah, I’m done,’ Dantley said. ‘(Nuggets coach George Karl) fired me Friday.’ Messages left Sunday for Karl and Nuggets executive vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri were not immediately returned. ‘I got fired because I didn’t rotate on the bench,’ said Dantley, who was regarded as Karl’s lead assistant and filled in for Karl for the final 1 ½ months of the 2009-10 season when the head man was battling a form of throat cancer. NBA teams are allowed to have three assistants sit on the bench, with others having to sit behind it. Dantley, who always had sat on the bench, said Karl approached him early last season and requested he rotate along with other assistants either sitting on or behind the bench. Dantley said he sat behind the bench for the final 67 games of the regular season and during the playoffs and wouldn’t rotate to the front of the bench. Nuggets assistants Chad Iske, John Welch and Melvin Hunt sat on the bench for those games. ‘I didn’t rotate,’ said Dantley, an NBA star forward from 1976-2001 who was named in 2008 to the Hall of Fame. ‘I wasn’t going to rotate. If they (other assistants) want the publicity to sit up front, I don’t need the publicity… I got no problem not being seen on TV and sitting at the back of the bench … This had to do with a whole lot of backstabbing,’ Dantley said. ‘I got fired because I wouldn’t rotate. And people felt uncomfortable (about that).’ Dantley went 11-8 in games Karl missed late in the 2009-10 season due to cancer. With Dantley at the helm, the Nuggets were upset 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs to Utah … ‘What upset me is the loyalty you show to someone and you get screwed,’ Dantley said.”