Karl ready to mend fences with Martin

Updated: May 24, 2006, 2:37 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Nuggets coach George Karl said he believes the situation with forward Kenyon Martin can be resolved, though the two haven't spoken since Martin was suspended during Denver's first-round playoff series loss to the Clippers.

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2006 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
56 12.9 6.3 1.4 .495 .712

Karl said he will begin meeting with players around June 15, ahead of the June 28 draft.

"I don't know if Kenyon will be among the first three or four players I talk with," Karl said Tuesday. "I don't think there's any forced time frame. I would say between now and the draft would be my time frame to get all the players through a lunch or a couple-hour meeting before the NBA draft and talk about the season."

Martin was suspended for yelling at the coach and his teammates during Game 2 of the playoff series against Los Angeles. His name has been mentioned in several trade rumors, but Karl said he is not ready to scuttle Martin.

"He's a man that can win basketball games. He's proven that this year. He's proven that throughout his career," Karl said. "We need to get back together so everybody's committed to doing that and not worrying about each other's individuality."

Still, the coach concedes it could be a tense meeting.

"I'm going into the meeting honest," Karl said. "There's some anger there I'm going to be honest with. It's not going to be anything different than clearing the air."

Recovering from surgery on his left knee, Martin played in pain throughout the season and averaged 12.9 points and 6.3 rebounds a game in 56 games. He was a reserve in the first two games of the playoffs, which led to growing frustration.

Karl also said he plans to take a more active role in determining the direction of the Nuggets, which decided not to renew the contract of general manager Kiki Vandeweghe after the season.

"Last year at the end of the season we said, 'You've [players] earned the right to stay together,"' Karl said. "At the end of this season we said the organization has the right to make some changes. Basically I took what was there when I got here and rode with it.

"Now it's my time to say what I want."

One of the changes may include making leading scorer Carmelo Anthony the team captain. Karl said he may eliminate the tri-captain system that has been in place for two seasons and appoint Anthony as the sole captain in 2006-07.

"That's where we want to see him," Karl said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press