With the big free agent free for all of 2010 at hand the Denver Nuggets are stuck pondering what could happen in 2011. Denver has offered Carmelo Anthony a three year extension at max dollars in an effort to keep him off the market 12 months from now. From the day the media latched onto Melo’s potential free agency in 2011 I have claimed that the Nuggets would be able to sign him to an extension.
In order to become a free agent next summer Carmelo would have to walk away from a massive payday and doing so simply does not make sense. With Carmelo slated to make over $18 million in 2011-12 and with the current three year, $65 million extension on the table Melo would have to turn his back on a guaranteed $83 million from Denver to play the field next summer. That is a hefty price to pay to check out grass that might not necessarily be greener.
I have written about how important Carmelo is to the Nuggets. He is the face of the franchise and is on track to become the greatest player in franchise history. Denver was a lost franchise before he came to town in 2003 and thanks in large part to the drafting of Carmelo have earned relevance and relative success with him. However, the key word is relative. Should Nuggets fans be content with a continuation of the first round and out tango Denver has been dancing for years? If the Nuggets sign Melo to that extension the Nuggets are basically saying they are happy with the status quo.
As a Nuggets fan the NBA Draft is usually both the most exciting and most frustrating night of the year. This year Denver heads into the 2010 NBA Draft with zero draft picks to make which could make for a pretty slow evening.
Rumors that Denver was shopping Ty Lawson to get a top ten pick have died off and the current scuttlebutt is Lawson is no longer available, at least not to the teams who are currently interested in acquiring him. Denver is still reportedly interested in getting into the draft, but the question is how? If there is a player they are interested in late in the first round, I think you can count on them swapping next season’s first rounder to nab him.
The Nuggets hosted several big men in a workout on Monday, Craig Brackens from Iowa State, Trevor Booker out of Clemson, Derrick Caracter who played at Louisville before transferring to UTEP, Luke Harangody of Notre Dame, Tulsa’s Jerome Jordan, Jarvis Varando from Mississippi State (who Chad Ford compares to Chris Andersen), Brian Zoubek of Duke and Latavious Williams who is a test case for players going from high school to the D-League.
All of those players are slated to be drafted from the late first to the second round. If one or two of those players wowed the front office and George Karl, who was on hand for the workout as he continues to recover from cancer, Denver will certainly make a play for one of them.
There are teams who are potentially interested in trading out of the first round, but there are other teams such as Cleveland, New York and possibly Dallas trying to get into the action in the first round as well. The bad news for Denver is teams might be more willing to buy a potential lottery ticket by acquiring a pick from a possibly LeBron-less Cavs team or a Knicks team that could strike out in free agency than a pick in the late teens to early twenties from Denver.
We all know the Nuggets need more depth in the frontcourt and they were able to put together an interesting group of players. Brackens and Harangody are intriguing offensive players, Vernando is a defender and shot blocker, Character is a player who entices you with his game, but has a questionable attitude and Booker is a flat out energy and hustle player. Williams may be the most intriguing player, but also is the prospect with the greatest amount of risk.
Even though the Nuggets do not have a pick, Nuggets fans might get a shot of adrenalin once the draft climbs into the mid to late twenties. At the workout on Monday Karl was quoted as saying, “We wouldn’t have guys in here (working out) if we didn’t think we were going to do something.” Denver must improve the roster and with the team likely rummaging around in the free agency bargain bin a failure to get into the draft will be difficult to stomach.
The Nuggets may or may not have a top ten pick to check out during the 2010 NBA Summer League, but regardless of who is on the roster, Denver has the great honor of playing in the first game in Vegas this summer. OK, so maybe that is not such a big honor. Regardless, here is the schedule (all times Pacific):
1:00 PM Friday, July 9 at COX Pavilion
Denver vs. Dallas
3:00 PM Saturday, July 10 at COX Pavilion
L.A. Lakers vs Denver
1:00 PM Sunday, July 11 at COX Pavilion
New York vs. Denver
1:00 PM Tuesday, July 13 at COX Pavilion
Denver vs. Chicago
1:00 PM Wednesday, July 14 at Cox Pavilion
Denver vs. Houston
Sadly, barring any trades the Nuggets will not face off against any of the top picks in this year’s draft, or even last year’s draft for that matter. Still, it is fun to have some basketball to obsess over in the summer.
Update: The Nuggets have announced Ty Lawson will play on the summer league team. “I want to be more aggressive,” he [Lawson] said. “Summer league is where I can work on being more assertive on the court.” Of course Lawson will still have to be a Nugget if he is going to participate.
Late season additions Coby Karl and Brian Butch will be a part of the team as well. Jamahl Mosely will coach.
The Denver Nuggets do not have a draft pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and rumors of activity have been few and far between. That may be about to change as according to a report from Chad Ford on TrueHoop that might change. Apparently the Nuggets have been seeking a top ten pick in the upcoming draft with the hopes of acquiring another big man.
The kicker is they are using Ty Lawson as the bait.