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Nuggets coach hit hard by Majerus' death

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Nuggets coach hit hard by Majerus' death

DENVER (AP) Denver Nuggets coach George Karl said he is still having a tough time dealing with the death of his friend, former Utah and Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus.

Karl spoke about his friendship with Majerus, who died of heart failure Saturday night after being hospitalized for several months.

``It's still very hard for me,'' Karl said before the Nuggets played Toronto on Monday night. ``He's one of my best friends and I think most people in basketball know that. I'm mad at him, I'm angry he's gone, there's a lot of emotions going on in my head. Most of it is I've got to figure out how to celebrate our friendship for the rest of my life even though he's not going to be with us.''

The two became friends while working at the Pete Newell Big Man camp at Stanford University in 1986 and the friendship grew over the years. The camaraderie extended to Karl's family, who considered Majerus one of them.

``Incredible friend. He treated me like I was his brother,'' Karl said. ``My son called me and said he was part of our family. He's been with Coby since he was in sixth grade. A lot of roots, a lot of stories and a lot of love.''

While Majerus was known as a college coach, Karl invited him to work with the Nuggets and offer insight over the past seven years. Several times he referred to Majerus in the present tense.

``He has a tremendous instinct on how to put a team together,'' Karl said. ``We have tremendous philosophical differences in a lot of things, but team and how the team works and who plays well with each other and how to incorporate strengths and weaknesses, he was always was there to help me make the next step with my team.

``Training camp, playoffs, in the season, he has a tremendous way of making me feel confident about who I am as a coach. He was always good in that way.''

Majerus, a Milwaukee native, compiled a 517-216 record over 25 years with Saint Louis, Ball State, Utah and Marquette. Majerus guided the Billikens to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 12 years last season. The Billikens, who finished 26-8, upset Memphis before losing to Michigan State.

He took Utah to the 1998 NCAA championship game, where the Utes lost to Kentucky. That team featured three future NBA players - Keith Van Horn, Michael Doleac and Andre Miller, who plays for the Nuggets.

Karl praised Majerus' record despite not having top-tier recruits.

``He never had the blessing of having the best talent in college, but he had an incredible record in Utah, he had an incredible record in producing NBA players,'' Karl said. ``Andre being one of them.''

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Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

You know what’s fun? Winning Metropolitan Division titles. 

No, it’s not as good as the big prize. The Capitals will never top their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. But winning a competitive division against their biggest rivals five years in a row? Pretty, pretty good. 

Washington took its fifth in a row officially on Tuesday when the NHL announced that the regular season had concluded thanks to the ongoing coronavirus. The Capitals just outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers with 90 standings points to 89. The difference over 69 games? One extra Caps game going into overtime for a single point. 

Credit to the Flyers for making a late run. No one was playing better in the NHL than Philadelphia just before the season was halted. Whether that carries over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen. 

But the Capitals should take pride in that streak. It’s hard to do in an age of parity. They play in a division where the Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cups in the previous four seasons. The two teams slugged it out three times in the second round. That’s the luck of the draw, and so four straight division titles -- and two Presidents’ Trophies -- meant just one Cup for Washington. 

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It’s also rare to dominate a division the way the Capitals have for five years. The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division title every year from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, the Detroit Red Wings won the Central Division an astounding eight times from 2001 to 2009. It doesn’t get you a championship -- Washington won the expired Southeast Division from 2008 to 2011 -- but it does mean you played great hockey year after year.

And to do it in the reconstituted Patrick Division, where long-time rivals like the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders and Devils joined with newer rivals Carolina and Columbus, makes it even sweeter. Add another banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena. The Caps are the class of the Metropolitan Division yet again. 

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Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Nationals decided to use “partial furloughs” to keep their baseball and business employees at work through the end of their contracts or the calendar year.

The road map works like this:

All full-time business and baseball employees will receive a reduction in pay and hours ranging from 10 to 30 percent. If the employee’s contract runs to the end of baseball season -- typically Oct. 31 -- then these parameters apply from now until then. If the employee is not on contract, these reductions persist until Dec. 31.

No full-time employee is being laid off because of the economic impact from coronavirus.

An example: If a person works a 40-hour week, and has the 10 percent reduction in pay and hours, they are down to a 36-hour week at 10 percent pay cut.

The reduction scale slides. The highest-paid employees, like Mike Rizzo, are taking the largest reduction in pay. Then on down the line.

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The Nationals deciding to do this now allows their staff to know what the future holds as opposed to wondering month-to-month what decision the organization will make in regard to their job status.

Major League Baseball organizations remain uneasy about their financial future in 2020 since the season has stalled. The league and its team owners are in the midst of negotiations with the MLBPA while attempting to find a safe, revenue-satisfactory path back to the field.

Meanwhile, teams across the league are assessing their non-player finances, and the approach varies. For instance, the Anaheim Angels decided last week to furlough some non-playing employees.

In Washington, no full-time employee will be laid off because of this salary adjustment.

USA Today was first to report the Nationals’ overall decision.

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