Denver Nuggets President Josh Kroenke said Friday that it was hard to let both the NBA's executive of the year and its coach of the year get away following a franchise record 57-win season, ''but I'm not here to win awards, I'm here to win banners.''
Kroenke said he wasn't going to stand in the way of Masai Ujiri leaving for his dream job as GM of the Toronto Raptors last week and he couldn't stomach watching George Karl serve as a lame duck next season, so he fired him Thursday.
Ujiri and Kroenke had a handshake agreement on a new deal earlier this year, but Kroenke said the one team he would allow to step in and break up their partnership was the Raptors, the team that had given Ujiri his first shot at a front office job.
He said Ujiri told him not to try to match the reported five-year, $15 million offer from Toronto because he'd already made up his mind he wanted to return to Toronto.
Karl had one year left on his contract with a three-year team option and he sought to parla...