13 People who turned their backs on the Denver Nuggets

These former Nuggets did not leave on the best terms.
Denver Nuggets, Andre Iguodala
Denver Nuggets, Andre Iguodala / Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
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8. Bernie Bickerstaff

Bickerstaff arrived in Denver in 1990 to be their president and general manager. He had 20-plus years of coaching experience but was not known for his front-office acumen. Bickerstaff installed himself as head coach in 1994 where he led the team for parts of three seasons.

The Nuggets made two playoff appearances during his seven years with the franchise but things went sideways at the end of his tenure. Fans will never forgive Bickerstaff for letting Dikembe Mutombo walk in free agency in 1996. The future Hall of Famer was in the middle of his prime and wanted to return. Denver’s ownership was unwilling to give him a ten-year contract, and Bickerstaff failed to trade him for a return.

It was far from his only blunder. There were several regrettable trades, including dumping Jalen Rose with Reggie Williams and the tenth overall pick for Mark Jackson, Ricky Pierce, and the 23rd selection. Bickerstaff left for Washington in 1997, but the damage was done.

The Denver Nuggets had an eight-year playoff drought and went through six head coaches after he left. Who knows what impact Dikembe Mutombo would have made, but he was a fan-favorite. The Nuggets should have kept him or got something in return via trade. Bickerstaff had to do better.