Exclusive: Nuggets president Josh Kroenke, on his evolution after seven years in Denver

Jun 16, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets president Josh Kroenke (right) speaks during a press conference at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In December of 2010, I attended a holiday party thrown by the Denver Nuggets and attended by team luminaries that included Chauncey Billups, Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin and head coach George Karl. Then-general manager Masai Ujiri and brand-new team governor Josh Kroenke were also there, and I had an opportunity to make their acquaintances.

Just over seven years later, Kroenke sat down with me, and my colleague Nate Timmons, for a CSG Podcast at Pepsi Center on Sunday.

The Josh Kroenke I met seven years ago has become more mature and definitely more experienced, but remains, at his core, the same person. Kroenke was thrown into the deep end of the pool when he took over operational control of the Denver Nuggets in 2010, and had to start swimming immediately. Carmelo Anthony demanded a trade, forcing Kroenke and Ujiri to navigate through the breaking hearts of Nuggets fans and the deluge of anonymous sources in the New York media in order to pull off a monster, franchise-changing trade.

In this episode, we’ll discuss that 2010 version of Josh Kroenke, and what’s changed for him since then. What did he learn over this time — from the ‘Melodrama’ to the firing of George Karl, and in early stages of the Tim Connelly era with the Nuggets?

Kroenke goes into detail about what the Nuggets have been looking for in recent drafts and explains how communication in the front office affects how decisions are made. Moving on to deals with young stars like Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic, Trey Lyles and Jamal Murray, he discusses navigating the challenges of the NBA’s cap and tax rules, and ramifications of the massive payroll spike that would presumably follow if the Nuggets wanted to keep all of them for the long-term… and Kroenke gives us a fascinating answer.

The Nuggets’ lead executive also discussed his college years — including how he determined that his future in the NBA wouldn’t be as a player — and how he started off as a 27-year old in the Nuggets’ front office in 2007, while players like Allen Iverson still roamed the Pepsi Center halls.

It’s a fascinating discussion — and the most in-depth interview that Kroenke has given to anyone not named Richard Jefferson.

This is a CSG Podcast exclusive. Nate and I thank Josh for sitting down with us for a little over an hour.

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