For the Denver Nuggets, losing Carmelo Anthony — the team’s superstar and biggest draw — was tough, but it was the loss of another player that stung the most. Chauncey Billups, tied to Anthony as part of the mega-trade that put 12 players in motion on Monday night, was a hometown hero in Denver, leaving head coach George Karl and many Nuggets players sad about his departure on Tuesday.
For Karl, it was about Billups more than Anthony. Billups held a prominent role with the team, mentoring the younger players as a leader for the Nuggets.
“I can’t deny that when the trade went down last night, I was kind of more sad than happy,” Karl said after his team’s short-handed shootaround Tuesday. “I think most of that sadness was because of Chauncey — and A.C. a little bit, too.”
With Billups gone, Ty Lawson will assume the point guard duties, attempting to fill the void the trade left the Nuggets with. Though Denver is in the midst of a major roster overhaul, losing its two biggest stars, Karl and the team were still optimistic about their chances to make a postseason run. Karl was adamant the team was reloading rather than rebuilding with the trade that left Denver with just nine eligible players in practice on Tuesday.
For more on the deal, check out our Carmelo Anthony trade StoryStream. To connect with Nuggets fans, check out SB Nation’s Denver Stiffs.