Offday Offerings – Exercising Our Right to Petition

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.

Breaking Faces

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.

Injury shenanigans

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.

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  • Stumbleweed

    Bird doesn’t seem like the type to leave for money’s sake alone — if he gets a paltry veteran’s minimum offer from us and a full mid-level from another playoff team or something, I’m sure he’ll leave… But this is his home in the off-season and where he came when he was suspended for 2 years, and he obviously has a bond with his teammates (especially JR, who is here for the forseeable future)… all of this works in our favor. Plus he’s not a young guy — if we can offer him a longer term deal (3+ years) at slightly less money, I think he’d be inclined to take that over a big single season payday while having to change teams and uproot himself. He doesn’t have an injury history to speak of, so it’s probably a safe investment unless he loses his jumping ability magically at 32 or something.

    And honestly, I don’t see the first scenario happening (trading a big contract) — we have 90% of our payroll tied up in Melo, Chauncey, K-Mart, and Nene, and only K-Mart is really a guy that I could see being traded at this point. But the problem is that his contract (assuming he takes the player option, which is a no-brainer) goes through 2011, so it wouldn’t be a valuable trade piece until the 10-11 season. Who knows though — we might luck out and find a team that wants a solid low post defender and doesn’t care about the big contract… just doesn’t seem likely at all that we move him before 2010-11. Unless we trade Melo for some reason or give up on Nene for salary reasons, I don’t see any of those guys going anywhere… Chauncey is the least likely to be moved after this year.

    I think that we need to win and get to at least the 2nd round in order to convince Stan that it’s worth going into the luxury tax, as that will be pretty much unavoidable regardless of what happens next season… even just carrying a normal 12 man roster. With the salary cap going down for next year, we’d be above the cap by almost any scenario unless we let Kleiza, Petro, Carter, Birdman, Dahntay, and Hart go and replace them all with uber-cheap veteran minimum players. Retaining the few players in that group that are worth retaining (IMO Bird, AC, and Petro) will put us over the cap, even at their current salaries. Keep in mind that we’re also paying $3 mil of McDyess’ buyout in 09-10 as well as $3.6 for Steven Hunter, who has hardly played.

    Bottom line, we either take a huge hit on talent, hope we luck out with a good pick in the draft this year (preferably a 2nd rounder since their contracts aren’t guaranteed), and remain under the cap… or we re-sign the important parts of our core (Bird being the main one), try to get another contributor to fill a need (bench scorer when Kleiza inevitably limps back to Europe without a contract), and are in the luxury tax, but have a real chance to make noise again next season. I don’t see another option considering our salary situation unless some team really does us a favor.

  • runningdonut

    I’m sure Birdman will get a good contract somewhere, and he’s really earned it. I agree with Jeremy that it will be real tough for the Nuggets to pay him what he’s worth without going over the tax. Everything hinges on having a strong showing in the playoffs and bringing in lots of fans and money.

    I hope the front office can work some magic with the exception, shed some salary and offer Bird a longer term deal he might go for. Hopefully, we still have a lot more to enjoy from Bird in this year :)

  • runningdonut

    Also, correct me if I’m wrong but it seems extremely unlikely we’ll be able to trade Kenyon to anyone. No offense to K-Mart but that’s just a really bad contract for anyone to have, especially in today’s world

  • Stumbleweed

    Yeah, as I said, it would take someone who feels that he’s the missing piece to a championship (which he might well be — he defends Duncan and those guys better than just about anyone) and wants a big expiring contract in 2010-11… I can’t think of anyone that would fit that bill at the moment, but things might change.

    I still can’t believe that contract… 7 years?? Good lord.