Lobbying for the Birdman
On February 20 I wrote the following:
Right now [for the 2009-10 season] the Nuggets are over $68 million [in team salary] with only Kenyon Martin, Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Nene, J.R. Smith, Steven Hunter, Renaldo Balkman and the money they owe Antonio McDyess. That is only seven players. Chris Andersen has been a Godsend playing as well as he has for the minimum. He is going to get a significant raise next season and I doubt the Nuggets will be able to afford to bring him back.
March 23 Chris Tomasson of In Denver Times posted an article about the possibility Chris Andersen might be playing for another team next season:
Andersen will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and says his first choice is to return to the Nuggets. But he figures to command a hefty raise, one Karl hopes won’t be too rich for Denver.
For starters, the Nuggets will have no early Bird or Bird rights on the Birdman, which allow a player who has played two seasons (early Bird) or three seasons (Bird) with a team to sign for an amount exceeding the salary cap. But the Nuggets could dip into a salary-cap exception, likely their midlevel of about $5.5 million, to retain Andersen.
There’s one thing Andersen is counting on. He doesn’t plan to play next season for the minimum, which would be $1.11 million.
“I’m pretty sure that’s for sure,’’ Andersen said.
Today Andrew from Denver Stiffs announced that he has started a petition demanding the Nuggets retain the services of the Birdman after this season and he plans on hand delivering it to the Nuggets during the playoffs.
My response to Andrew after I read his email was that he is petitioning the wrong people. If he wants Birdman to stay in Denver the petition should be to Andersen begging him to play for the minimum again with everyone who signed pledging to send him $10.
Chris Andersen is going to get at least $3.5 to $4.0 million next season and might even be offered the full midlevel exception from someone.
I only see two ways that Andersen will be a Denver Nugget after this season. Either the Nuggets are going to have to trade one of their big contracts and do it as part of a deal where they take back much less salary in return, or they are going to have to go far enough in the playoffs this season to convince Stan Kronke that keeping this team together will be worth the luxury tax hit.
The Nuggets’ front office has shown some pretty impressive creativity lately and they did manage to dump over $10 million in salary over the span of a few months. Hopefully they can figure out a way to keep Andersen after the season too.
If you missed Nene’s response to Louis Amundson’s comments about his on the court personna you better check it out. Let’s just say Nene does not think much of Louis’ game or ability to withstand a good solid headbutt.
History made before our very eyes
I mentioned in my game recap that Jamal Crawford made back to back four point plays in the third quarter and I wondered if anyone in the history of the NBA had ever done that before. Well, I fired off an email to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN and ClipperBlog and Henry Abbott of TrueHoop. Kevin then forwarded me some data he received from Elias. Elias only found three other players in the last ten years who even scored two in a game and none were back to back. Here is the complete list:
It is certainly possible someone has hit back to back four point plays before, but I bet Crawford was the first to do it.
James Posey is going to miss three games with a sprained elbow. The injury occurred on Friday night against the Knicks, but for some reason was not announced until today. Posey sat out the Hornets’ game last night after being suspended by the league for throwing the ball at a referee in the Knick game.
The Hornets just got one over on the league. They delayed announcing the injury until after Posey served a suspension during a game he was not healthy enough to play in. Had the league known Posey was going to miss the game due to injury they would have postponed the suspension until after he was healthy enough to return.
One man’s projection
Reader Bill Holicky emailed me a projected breakdown of how the season could shake out over the final couple of weeks. He foresaw the Nuggets ending up with 52 wins and earning the fourth seed, but that was before they pulled out the win in Dallas so according to his projection Denver has a great shot at tying the Rockets for third and capturing the third seed thanks to being a division champion.