Monday, 21 January 2019 08:20

On the couch with Chuck: Kade Kramer

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In a new series Denver reporter legend Chuck Tankman will have a smalltalk on his office couch with your Demons. Volume I belongs to an all time great who called it a career: Kade Kramer.

Kade, it's so great to have you. First of all: How's your body holding up?

Bad, man, bad. My back's killing me, my knees are basically looking like Germany 1945. I'd love to play, I love the game, but I just can't take it anymore.

Or could it be you're just fed up after anther half year with KvM?

Man, nothing in my life is about that guy. I'm just done. At mornings when I climb out of my bed I need like 10 minutes before I can walk without pain. It's time to enjoy life now, spend some of that money I made for the good stuff. Relaxing, chilling, lying at the beach at Bermuda, enjoying life, man.

But for how long?

Oh, I will be back at some point. I love the game and I think I have seen a lot. I won a ring back then with the Swing, I had to accept that I was slowing down to the point where I sat on the bench in Berlin in the OBDL. So I know the top, I know the bottom and I think I can pass on something to the next generation. Hell, I have even seen how championship teams have been constructed and how they have been deconstructed.

In other words...

Yeah, you got me. I think I will be back. Maybe as a coach, maybe even as a GM. I know I have a lot to learn, but I have seen both sides of the business and I just love the game and the O. It's the best league in the world and I'd love to be back. Maybe as an assitant coach or even headcoach someday. Maybe as team manager or GM. Who knows? I will take some rest but then... sky's the limit.

You mentioned Berlin. Then the Demons called...

Yeah.

And you didn't hang up right away?

Hell no. Berlin was terrible, I hate that city. Noisy, dirty, people are sooo fucking rude. I wanted out and I wanted back in the O for one last ride.

But, sorry to mention him again, KvM...

You know, I know the guy back from Manhattan. I know what he can do to you. I mean, I have seen him treat players and coaches like shit. You remember Philipp Glavocich. I mean, him and me, we drove the Swing to the ring. We were a hell of a duo. And KvM only threw dirt at him and badmouthed him for years to come. And all because Phil's sister gave him the brush off when the fat boy made a move on her. Well, kind of a move, he's not good at moving...

And still you signed with the Demons?

I'd been crazy not too. See, I knew I would call it a career, so this was perfect for one last ride. Darin Deans, Charly Cazares, Daniel Goodrum and first of all that terrific kid Greg Fore: A hell of a team, absolute championship material. And of course I phoned to the Goot and he said, hey, come over, let's make up a retirement community and have some fun, the GM is plain nuts and every few weeks some unbelievable things happen with him and yeah, the entire office floor and our locker room and even the court reaks of Burgers, Fishmacs and seafood pasta all day long, but this is one hell of a team, great chemistry and we could win it all. Noah Gutierrez saying that, and the idea of finally playing with him and not against him: that did it for me.

But no title...

Man, I tell you what. First things first, SunKings took it, hell of a team and kudos, they deserved it. But my man Chuck, those injuries during regular season cost us deerly. I tell you this: Without Greg and Charly going down for months we take the division with 60 wins instead of 50 and that means homecourt against the SunKings. And then we are talking a new ballgame. Man, it was close, that first game in St. Louis was ours, we waisted that away in the end. It was so close. But again, the SunKings deserved it, great team, great construction of a team there, they were better by some margin and that did it. Still sucks though.

The GM did not cost you the title?

He didn't help for sure. We actually locked him in for most games after game one and let him out for game seven. Hmm... But we lost it on court.

You went out with 6 points in your last game ever...

Yeah, some far cry from my best times, eh? You gotta see it when it comes around the corner: I had some spot minutes in me, I did not hurt the team, I couldnt help as much as I would have liked too, but it was some nice ride. And I have to admit, I am thankful to the Demons and even to KvM that he gave me the chance to exit like I think I deserved. By the way, Noah feels the same way.

You're kidding...

Oh that doesnt make KvM even a halfway sane person. He still is a fat ugly maniac who whatever good he builds by chance will destroy it. He does now...

You are talking the Deans trade?

Yeah, huge mistake!

Explain...

If it aint broke, don't fix it. I mean, you have eyes, you see the games. Darin Deans is a beast, he and Charly Cazares clean up everything. Man, what did they block shots. Unbelievable. Charles Ottinger I don't know. Yeah, the guy can score, but what do you gain? Maybe 8 to 10 points more per game. But you lose Darin's defense, his rebounding, his shot blocking and you have another guy coming in who is fouling. Fouling cost us the finals, among other things. Bad move if you ask me. And the team feels the same. Darin is highly respected in that locker room.

So you're not a fan of Ottinger?

Not what I said. I like the guy and his game. I just think he's not the right fit. And then it's the same mistake KvM made back in Manhattan.

Which one?

Back then we won the title on a budget that was at the absolute maximum of what that huge market could sustain. Those things you don't care about as a player, but I learned about that over the last years and it's a fascinating side of the business. See the parallel to Denver today? 90 million payroll is the absolute peak here, the franchise can deal with it as long as it is running deep into the playoffs. But it's operating at the absolute limit and there's always a risk in that.

Okay, what happened then?

In Manhattan KvM went all in to repeat. He made bad trades, bringing in players that even the Swing could not afford. It backfired on court, it backfired in the locker room and it ruined the franchise financially for years. And KvM ran as fast as he could, so imagine a 2 ton giant baby crawling under his desk, but what the heck, he left a franchise in deep trouble. And the next guy had to spend five or so years as a cellar dwellar to clean up the financial mess.

And today...

... it's history repeating itself. Demons already are financially strained and KvM destroys a team that went to the conference final last year and to the final this year only to bring in yet another high prized guy in Ottinger. Why? Tell me.

I don't know...

See? Like in Manhattan he is sacrificing the bench and a star for what he thinks is a bigger star. I will tell you this: Demons won't be under the top 4 teams at the end of the year. They shopped away depths and a perfect player in Deans for, well, a big guy and good player. But how will he mix with Greg Fore? I know for sure HC Bo Balzer wasn't involved and isn't thrilled. But now he has to work with that. Well, and the money? Mark my words: next year the sell out will begin, there will be guys like Cazares or Goodrum leaving. It's the Swing desaster all over again.

Demons aside, what's your take on the OBWL?

Oh, it has a great on court product with a hell of fine players. To me Charles Flowers is the best, bare none. Greg Fore is a terrifc player and he's homegrown, you gotta love that. But Flowers is in a league of his own. Overall you have us old guys fading out, have new kings in town, Ardoin, Baum, Richardson, Crumley, you name them. I just wish the league would be more competitive.

You think it's not?

I think it could do better. You don't have to be a maniac like KvM, he's filling that role but one is enough. You don't have to be a trigger maniac like Jay Amado over in Philly who turns his team over and over and over in a fast cycle and you know every time he is about to hit gold and should ride with what he has he is changing everything again. Same goes to Marco Heinrich in New Jersey, with the huge difference that he is doing it at the bottom and can't find the stairs up.

So?

What I'm saying is this: those guys might run on too high octane, but they are doing things. I love that. Others stay put and don't risk a thing and eventually they will never make it.

Like who?

No sense in calling someone out. Let me say this: There are huge market teams acting like they are located in Smalltown. There are teams that have one superstar and still don't try to bolster their support cast to finally take that final step. There are teams building through the draft or at least they pretend publicly to do so to keep their fan base quiet, but in fact they never go anywhere cause they shy the risk or miss the point when it just makes no sense anymore to accumulate pick after pick. At some point you gotta bring in star power. Stars win chanmpionships. Period. Overall I'd like to see more teams being more aggressive. What's there to lose after 5 seasons in a row as middle of the pack? Nothing. So do something. Take a risk. Act!

So you would be an agressive coach or GM?

Hell, yeah. Well, let's say I would be on the offense. On the court, at the desk.

Kade, good talking to you. Who'se gonna win the new season?

Tough one. SunKings have a chance to repeat, no one has ever done that. That would be one for the history books. Other than that? I just see the usual suspects and that relates back to what I said before. Knights probably. Huskies are that one bold move away. Oh, and never count out the Tritons. That GM there is going back to what made him hugely sucessful and he knows his job as well as Eric Stelle or Ben Johnson. I don't see any new team breaking into that group unless some GM dicovers his balls. I wish someone would. We need guys with bigger balls!

Ok, won't ask about...

Don't worry about mine... I'll take a leave, I'll be back one day and I know after what I just said I'll have to back up some comments. But I will.

 

 

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+1 #1 Jason Warnke 2019-01-22 07:15
Goodbye, Kade Kramer. Should be unanimous HoF inductee...
 

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