Karl hopes Voshon Lenard can be traded soon
Lenard, who is making $3.2 million, hasn't played much this season because his skills don't lend themselves to Karl's preference for a fast-paced style and the 11th-year pro also irritated management last month when he asked for a trade and refused to go into the game in the final seconds of a lopsided loss.
"I said it on my radio show this morning and I'll say it again: the one guy I hope is traded soon is Vo, for him and for us," Karl said before the Nuggets' game against Indiana at the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night.
"For him because I think he deserves an opportunity to play. He's worked hard to get back from his injury [torn Achilles' tendon]. He's definitely a good enough basketball player to be given an opportunity to play."
Karl had higher hopes for Lenard back in October after Lenard had made a remarkable recovery from a torn left Achilles' tendon on opening night in Los Angeles last season, then missed 79 games before returning for the final two.
Lenard, however, quickly fell out of favor with Karl, who took over for the final two months last season and led the Nuggets to the playoffs with an up-tempo offensive style.
"For me, after the exhibition season, the defense and transition philosophically were working against Vo," Karl said. "It was not that I didn't think Vo could play NBA basketball. I just didn't think he could play the tempo or the defense that I wanted to play."
Lenard, who didn't speak to reporters Wednesday night, has played in just 12 games and averaged 8.3 points this season.
Karl said Lenard's attitude, however, has been outstanding.
"He's been very professional. He's a quiet guy anyway but he's been great," Karl said. "He's been a first-class citizen professionally. Yesterday's practice he and Julius [Hodge] were the two best players on the basketball court."
Yet, that effort isn't buying him many minutes on game night, and it's not changing Karl's mind, either.
"That window isn't shut, but if Kenyon [Martin] is out for the year, if we lose another player and we're going to go to playing an 85-point game, Vo might have an opportunity to fit into a 5-on-5 offense," Karl said. "I still think everybody in this organization is committed to actually trying to pick the pace up in 2006."
Karl said it's just become a situation where a good player is wasting away on the bench in a city where he is no longer wanted.
"A lot of times, I hate to say this, I've realized in time that there's lots of times coaches have to go, and there are times in basketball that players need to be moved," Karl said.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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