Bearup latest to leave Nuggets

Denver Nuggets power broker Bret Bearup has been pushed out in an ongoing shakeup of the franchise’s basketball operations department, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Nuggets informed rival teams on Monday that president Josh Kroenke and vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri are the only officials authorized to discuss basketball issues on the franchise’s behalf, sources said. Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke will continue to use Bearup as a consultant on non-basketball matters.

The Nuggets have overhauled their front office in recent months. In addition to pushing out Bearup, they also didn’t retain previous vice president of basketball operations Mark Warkentien, vice president of player personnel Rex Chapman and salary-cap specialist Greg Knight.

Bearup has been involved with the Nuggets since Stan Kroenke purchased the team in 2000. He played a strong role in personnel moves, despite never having an official position. In recent weeks, Stan Kroenke had come under pressure from the league office and rival owners who had issues with Bearup’s conflicting interests outside of the team. Bearup had only an adviser’s title, but agents and rival team officials understood he carried considerable influence with Stan Kroenke, which often made negotiations confusing and difficult.

Ujiri also had tried to wrest influence from Bearup since taking over, league sources said. Ujiri was angry with stories that suggested he was a figurehead in front of Bearup and not in control of the Nuggets’ front office.

It was Bearup who put together the front-office partnership of Warkentien and Chapman that grew dysfunctional. He also played a role in some of the team’s major transactions.

More recently, Bearup had been a strong proponent of trading Carmelo Anthony(notes) in a proposed multiteam deal that would have brought back a package centered around New Jersey Nets rookie forward Derrick Favors(notes). League sources said it was Ujiri who didn’t want to rush into any deal and pushed to explore other trade options.

With Bearup now out, the Nuggets will likely continue to be patient as they assess what to do with Anthony. League sources said team officials remain intrigued about a multiteam proposal that would bring back Philadelphia 76ers guard Andre Iguodala(notes).

Bearup, sources said, has already cleaned out his office at the Pepsi Center and will likely spend the next year assisting Stan Kroenke with Arsenal, the English soccer club Kroenke owns.


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Updated Tuesday, Nov 9, 2010