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George Karl thinks Iguodala was Mark Jackson’s mole, still ticked about Jackson’s playoff “tricks”

Nov 29, 2013, 11:02 AM EDT

Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl watches his team play against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of their NBA Western Conference basketball playoffs in Denver Reuters

Denver looked like a team that could do a lot of damage in the playoffs last season – they won 57 games, the players bought into the style George Karl was preaching, and they were a disruptive if not elite defense. Then Danilo Gallinari went down and they were never the same. On either end of the floor.

George Karl is still not over his Nuggets losing to a hot-shooting Warriors’ team in the first round last year. Especially because of Mark Jackson and how he played that series.

Karl sat down with longtime Denver sportswriter Dave Krieger for a fascinating Q&A (you need to read the entire thing), and Karl is still a little bitter about that playoff series — including Jackson’s comment at the time that Denver was playing dirty because a “mole” on the Warriors told him so.

Gallo’s injury took our defense. Say we were above average defensively, and I think that probably would be a good way of phrasing it. And we went from above average to ordinary. We had no versatility in our defensive schemes. Wilson [Chandler] was the only guy that we could maneuver around. And we run into an offensive team that was the best at what we did the worst — cover the three ball.

And then you take your versatility out and you’re playing two small guards that their guards can shoot over even with good defensive position. They took the momentum from us in Game 2, shooting the hell out of it, and Games 3 and 4, that building was, it had a karma to it. We took it to Game 6. It wasn’t my favorite series I’ve coached. I wish I would have done a better job trying to figure out how to give confidence to our offense and/or our defense. Even in our two wins, I thought they were on guts and grit more than they were on good basketball cohesiveness. I think we were trying to find answers quite often in that series and didn’t find answers. And that falls on the coach.

Q: Do you think Andre Iguodala was Mark Jackson’s “mole”?

A: No question….

I thought Mark had a lot of tricks in that series that were bush- . . . I don’t know. I don’t know what they were. Almost high-schoolish. They were beneath the NBA level. And they might have worked. They might have motivated his young team in a good way. You know, he’d announce a starting lineup and start another guy. C’mon, man. You think we’re not ready for that?

Okay then.

It’s not a huge leap to think Iguodala was the mole (which I’m sure he denies when asked). Remember, Warriors’ owner Joe Lacob said Iguodala’s people reached out to him during the playoff series saying he wanted to come there.

Still, it wasn’t Jackson or even Iguodala that won that series, as Karl noted without Gallinari he didn’t have lineups that could challenge Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson properly. That may not have changed even if Gallinari were back, as the Warriors got hot. We’ll never know. But that series helped cement a mythology around Jackson (for the public, at least) that gives him leverage.

Two other interesting things out of the Karl interview.

First, he says he wants to coach one more season somewhere. He wants one more NBA chance. Hard to think he doesn’t get one in the next couple seasons, he is too good a coach not to.

Second, Karl was in part pushed out the door in Denver because he favored playing Kosta Kufos over JaVale McGee. Because coaches have this thing about consistent effort. Here are Karl’s thoughts on McGee.

He came here as a player that played 30 minutes [in Washington] without earning that responsibility, was given that responsibility because they were a bad team. My year with him last year, I was trying to figure out what he was. I thought at the end of last year he earned the right to get more minutes this year but I don’t think he earned the right to be given 30 minutes.

  1. jammer73 - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Mark “Bush” Jackson.

    • fanofevilempire - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      George Karl thinks he invented basketball.
      if he is so good how come he doesn’t have a coaching job?

      • cmehustle - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:43 AM

        Uhhhh, dude have you like just recently started watching basketball? Go back and look at his history. Then come back to this site and do a written apology.

  2. mimaiheatdynasty - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    No doubt Iggy was the “Inside Man”.

    • eventhorizon04 - Nov 29, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      Yeah – combine the report of Iggy reaching out to Golden State during the playoffs with the fact that Iggy and Curry have been friends since their time playing together with USA Basketball, and it’s basically conclusive that Iggy is the guy who warned the Warriors about Curry allegedly being targeted during the playoffs last year.

  3. vi3tguy415 - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Is it ok to write or post somethibg great about Kobe without offending you? Without letting people know that he has a better overall career than you favorite lebum? I doubt you would let me do it because i posted a video and got deleted right away.

    • eventhorizon04 - Nov 29, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      There have been several Kobe-related articles in the past 4 days.

      Crazy idea – try writing about Kobe Bryant in the many Kobe Bryant-specific articles on this website, rather than writing about Kobe Bryant in articles about George Karl, Andre Iguodala, and Mark Jackson.

      • vi3tguy415 - Nov 29, 2013 at 8:30 PM


  4. jimeejohnson - Nov 29, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    You mad, DUDE?

  5. mytthor - Nov 29, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Phil Jackson doesn’t have a coaching job. Pat Riley doesn’t have a coaching job. You’re a schmuck.

    • fanofevilempire - Nov 29, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      what the phuck does that have to do with anything you dumb blonde?

      • mytthor - Nov 29, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        I guess I have to spell it out for you. You suggest that if George Karl was a good coach he’d have a coaching job. As I pointed out, some of the best coaches in league history don’t have coaching jobs. Therefore, your point, like your brain, is bull$#!+.

  6. watdoiknow - Nov 29, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Are you like 12 years old? I mean.. if you were.. then that would account for your ignorant comment about George Karl and the brilliant retort you had above.

  7. asimonetti88 - Nov 29, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Mark Jackson has a mole? He should get it removed, it could be a melanoma.

    • fanofevilempire - Nov 29, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      -throws popcorn

  8. cruzan80 - Nov 29, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Most overrated coach in the league. He’s had loaded teams & never got it done but always knows how to point the finger at a player once the player leaves whether it be via trade or free agency or after he gets fired.

  9. lastdukestreetking - Nov 29, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    To be fair to Phil Jackson & Pat Reilly, they don’t have coaching jobs because they have no desire to coach. Karl still does.

    • fanofevilempire - Nov 29, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      and they are retired.

  10. dolphindubs - Nov 29, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    “MOLE!! BLOODY MOLE!! We’re not supposed to talk about the bloody mole, but there’s a bloody mole WINKING ME IN THE FACE!!”

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:26 PM


  11. ddmcd1974 - Nov 29, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Karl doesn’t have a job because he got axed late and wasn’t gonna take the sixers or hawks jobs, they are rebuilds and he wants one year. Oh. Ok. Fukcer.

  12. 00maltliquor - Nov 29, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    This sucks, I love Iggy and been sticking up for him for years. I don’t want to look at him in that light! If it’s true I just lost all respect for him. I hope it’s not true, but we’ll probably never know.

    • uptjeff - Dec 1, 2013 at 9:10 AM

      It’s true. He’s a traitor.

  13. cranespy - Nov 30, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    George will end up back home in Chapel Hill when Ole Roy hangs it up.

  14. uptjeff - Dec 1, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    George Karl will be the next Pelicans coach.

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