Posted by Art Garcia
In a stunning development Tuesday, the Denver Nuggets announced the contracts of top front-office executives Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman won’t be extended for the upcoming season. Warkentien and Chapman played an integral role in the franchise’s success over the last few years.
Warkentien, executive of the year in 2009, joined the franchise for the 2005-06 season and was promoted to vice president of basketball operations before the next season. Chapman has been vice president of player personnel the last four years.
Reached by NBA.com Tuesday afternoon, Warkentien declined comment regarding the circumstances of his release.
The Nuggets are considering restructuring the front office and have begun searching for possible replacements. Bret Bearup, currently an advisor in the front office, could be taking on a bigger role. Team executive vice president Paul Andrews issued the following statement:
“Mark and Rex have played important roles in our success over the past several seasons. 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.”
Former general managers Kevin Pritchard (Portland) and Jeff Bower (New Orleans) could be possible candidates. Both left their respective teams this offseason. Washington vice president of basketball administration Tommy Sheppard, a former Nuggets executive, could also be in the running.
Denver has reached the playoffs in each of the five seasons Warkentien was with the organization, and seven straight years overall. The Nuggets reached the Western Conference finals in 2009, tying a franchise record with 54 wins.
Last season began with high hopes, but ended with a first-round playoff loss to Utah. The Nuggets dealt with the absence of coach George Karl for the last two months of the season due to cancer treatments. Karl hopes to return to the sidelines this season.