Denver Nuggets restructures management, front office
The Denver Nuggets today announced the restructuring of their basketball operations department. The team will name Mark Warkentien Vice President of Basketball Operations, Rex Chapman Vice President of Player Personnel and Bret Bearup Advisor to the Nuggets. The team will also promote Masai Ujiri to Director of International Scouting.
Assistant General Managers Jeff Weltman and David Fredman will no longer be employed by the Nuggets.
“We feel we have a well-balanced front office team in place to continue our pursuit of an NBA championship,” said Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke. “Mark, Bret and Masai have proven themselves to be invaluable resources for the Nuggets and Rex will bring a wealth of NBA experience that will perfectly complement the group. We respect and appreciate the work that Jeff and David have done the past five years and wish them well in their future endeavors.”
Warkentien served as the Nuggets Director of Player Personnel last season. He was tabbed to lead the Nuggets 2006 draft process and serve as the chief negotiator on basketball matters in May. Prior to joining the Nuggets, Warkentien spent the 2004-05 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers as Director of Player Personnel and interim General Manager. Before moving to Cleveland, he spent 10 years with the Trail Blazers, serving as Director of Player Personnel, Assistant General Manager, Director of Scouting and Scout. He began his NBA career with the Seattle SuperSonics, serving as a scout from 1991-94.
Chapman will join the Nuggets after one year as a key member of the Minnesota Timberwolves front office. Prior to joining the T’Wolves, he was a scout and later Director of Basketball Operations for the Phoenix Suns. With the Suns, he played a key role in luring free agent Steve Nash back to the club. For the 2004 and 2005 NBA Playoffs, he served as a commentator on TNT. Chapman played in 666 games in his 12-year NBA career with the Charlotte Hornets, Washington Bullets, Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns. Originally the eighth overall pick of the 1988 NBA Draft by the Hornets, he scored 9,731 points (14.6 ppg) in his career before retiring following the 1999-00 season.
Bearup, a former player at the University of Kentucky, is well respected in basketball circles and in 2001 he ranked among the Top 100 in The Sporting News’ Most Powerful Sports People of the Year.
Ujiri joined the Nuggets in 2003 as a scout, following one season as an international scout for the Orlando Magic. He serves as a Director of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program in Africa and started the Top 50 and Bigman camps in Nigeria five years ago. Ujiri won three Under-18 African championships as the coach of Nigeria (2002, ’04, ’06) and played professional basketball in Europe for six years.