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Danilo Gallinari disagrees with Michael Malone’s leadership criticism, Nuggets coach apologizes

Danilo Gallinari, Michael Malone

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, front, reacts with forward Danilo Gallinari, of Italy, after he was called for a technical foul while facing the San Antonio Spurs in the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Nuggets coach Mike Malone bemoaned his team’s lack of veteran leadership – a strong public indictment of Mike Miller, Jameer Nelson, Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur and Danilo Gallinari.

Gallinari, via Harrison Wind of BSN Denver:

I don’t agree with that. That’s definitely not the problem of this team. Every veteran on this team can agree with me. So, I don’t agree with that.

Malone, via Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post:

“The only thing I’ll say regarding that – and I apologize to our veterans – anything that’s going on in our locker room should be left in the locker room,” he said prior to the Nuggets’ game against San Antonio Thursday night. “So I failed in that regard the other night. I let my frustrations after that loss get the best of me.”
“We have a great group of guys,” Malone said. “I’ve talked to guys one-on-one. We have so many young players on this team, I want to make sure our young guys are staying positive, staying in the right direction. And we do have good leadership. Last game I was frustrated with that, but as I mentioned, that shouldn’t have come out in the media. I think our locker room is tied together.”

If this is an isolated incident, the Nuggets can probably move on with Malone’s apology. The loss to the Kings was frustrating, and players can likely relate to Malone reacting in the heat of the moment after a tough loss.

But if there were already fissures between Malone and his players, this could exasperate those problems.

Most of all, Denver – which has lost four straight – just needs a win for everyone to feel better.