Sources: Micah Nori leaving Denver Nuggets to join Dwane Casey’s coaching staff in Detroit

Denver Nuggets assistant coach Micah Nori in the third quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at the Pepsi Center.
Jan 10, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets assistant coach Micah Nori in the third quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets assistant coach Micah Nori has decided to leave Denver’s coaching staff and has agreed to join Dwane Casey in Detroit with the Pistons, sources tell Mile High Sports. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was first on the report.

For the Pistons, it makes sense that Casey, who is rebuilding most of his coaching staff in Detroit, would go back to his roots and reach out to Nori because of the infectious energy and communication that he brings to the table. Nori always had something witty or clever to say and his ability to communicate with players will be helpful in Detroit with the likes of Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson, and Andre Drummond all on the same roster.

According to one NBA source, this is not a promotion for Nori. It will be largely a lateral move, but for Nori, who has been an assistant under Malone for five years, it makes sense that he would be open to new possibilities. He has not become a lead assistant in his time in Denver and there could be more potential for growth under Casey in Detroit.

This is now the third assistant coach to leave Denver in the last three seasons. Chris Fleming left the Nuggets to pursue a job with the Brooklyn Nets back in 2016. Fleming was a New Jersey native and coaching in Brooklyn gave him a chance to work closer to his roots. Chris Finch, who is regarded as the offensive maestro that unlocked Nikola Jokic, left in 2017 to take a job in New Orleans with the Pelicans where he had an opportunity to try to get the most out of both DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis – a job he did an admirable job of. Now it is Nori leaving to go back to his coaching roots. Nori was an assistant coach under Casey in Toronto before Malone brought him over to coach in both Sacramento and Denver with him.

Nori is a long-time friend of Malone and was one of his more trusted confidants so the loss of Nori could leave a sizable gap on the bench, but Denver has two relatively new assistant coaches ready to step up.

Current Nuggets summer league head coach Jordi Fernandez seems like an ideal replacement. He has been a head coach in the G-League with the Canton Charge, was a player development coach with Malone in Cleveland when Malone was an assistant on the Cavaliers staff, and he has lots of international coaching experience working with the Under-17 Spanish National teams. He has been in Denver since 2016 working as an assistant coach.

The other name to keep an eye on is fast-rising coach David Adelman, son of legendary coach Rick Adelman. After spending five years as a player development coach in with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Adelman was an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic for just one season before arriving in Denver, where he was been since 2017. He has been impressing organizations around the league and is looked at as one of the up-and-coming coaching minds in the league.

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