More Thoughts on the Al Harrington Signing

After I trashed the Nuggets signing of Al Harrington there was a glimmer of hope that the 5 year, $33.437 million contract was not as bad as first thought.  John Hollinger reported that he heard the final two seasons were only partially guaranteed.  It appears that is not the case as Chris Tomasson had this little blurb in his article on the signing:

While Dallas, like Denver, offered Harrington the full mid-level exception starting at $5.765 million, Harrington didn’t want to talk about whether the Mavericks were willing to offer him the five fully guaranteed years that Denver did.

Five fully guaranteed years.  Once again we are faced with the specter of this deal weighing the Nuggets down in the near future.

The most frequently used argument in favor of bringing Harrington to Denver is that his outside shooting ability will prevent so many double and triple teams from converging on Carmelo Anthony.  There are several issues I have with that assertion.

First of all, Harrington will have to greatly improve on his outside shooting in order to protect Melo.  He is a solid shooter, but certainly not a deadly one.  Last season he only converted on only 35% of his shots from 15 to 23 feet and was slightly worse from behind the arc converting on 34.2% of his threes.  He has shot better in the past converting on 42% of his midrange shots two seasons ago, plus he made 43.4% of his threes in 2006-07.  He has the potential to shoot well, but seeing as how he is on the downside of his prime seasons I would not expect a repeat of his career highs.  I doubt many teams will choose to play man to man against Carmelo because Harrington is setting up from the perimeter.

Secondly, since when are double and triple teams a bad thing?  When a team commits more than one defender to an offensive player, they are putting themselves at a disadvantage.  A well drilled offensive team will make defenses that double pay a stiff price.  Denver has excellent three point shooters in Chauncey Billups, Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson.  J.R. Smith had a horrid season from distance, but I would expect him to bounce back strong next season.  Those four are all much better three point shooters than Harrington and teams still sent extra defenders at Carmelo at will.

Third, the argument is teams used Kenyon’s man to double Carmelo and they will not leave Harrington like they did Kenyon.  My response is how many times did you see Kenyon cut through the lane and receive a pass from Carmelo because he was left uncovered?  Again, a double team is not necessarily a bad thing.  Plus even poor defensive teams are prepared to rotate and protect themselves from giving up a wide open shot off of a single pass after a double.  It is usually a shooter on the weakside who gets the open shot off of a swing pass, not necessarily the player whose man left him to double.  I would much rather have Afflalo, Chauncey, Lawson or J.R. sitting off the ball to take these shots than Harrington.

Harrington does provide another offensive threat at a position where they have lacked offense, but he is not some magic elixir that will make Denver an offensive juggernaut.  He is a perimeter oriented volume shooter.  While he played in systems that called for him to shoot a bevy of threes every night in New York and Golden State, even going back to his last half-season in Indiana he attempted more shots from outside ten feet, 7.3, than from inside ten feet, 6.2.  For a team that frequently forgets to work for good shots he is another player who likes jumpers and will only exacerbate those stretches when the Nuggets make one or fewer passes and jack up a long range heave.

I was also a little bothered by the timing of the deal.  With the Raptors having signed Linas Kleiza to an offer sheet Denver could have convinced them to rescind their offer and agree to a sign and trade (as the Nets and Warriors did with Anthony Morrow).  In order to do so Denver would have had to provide a credible threat to match the offer sheet.  With the announcement of the Harrington signing Toronto knows Denver is not going to match and thus has no reason to do a sign and trade which could have brought a valuable trade exception.  It is certainly possible Denver did their best to work out such a trade and Toronto rebuffed them.  Plus even though Harrington agreed to the contract there is always the chance he backs out if Denver asks him to wait a couple of days so they can keep the pressure on Toronto.  Even so, you never want to lose an asset for nothing, but that is what will happen to Denver with Kleiza.

I have had 24 hours to cool off after hearing about this signing, but even a day later I stand by my assessment that this is the wrong player and the wrong contract for Denver.  It is not an indictment of Harrington, who is undoubtedly a talented player, his addition simply fails to address the Nuggets’ largest shortcomings of interior defense and rebounding.

I hate to be all gloom and doom.  Keep in mind things could be worse.  At least Denver did not just hire Billy King to be their General Manager.

  • Chad

    You must consider the fact, however, that this is only a mid-level deal. Meaning at no point through the next 5 years should Harrington’s contract be anywhere over 5-7mil in that year. Meaning, that he’s a lot more easily movable than people seem to think. We’re not talking K-Mart-sized deals here people.

    A few years from now, package a young player and/or picks with Harrington if things aren’t working out, and we should easily be able to get an impact player in return, along with, theoretically, some good years from him as well. Even if we don’t trade him, he’s still reasonably priced. I’ll take a 35 year old Harrington being paid $7mil over a 32 year old Kenyon being paid $16mil

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

    Thanks for the comment Chad. I agree this is not a Kenyon Martin level disaster. However, not knowing what the CBA will be like and how stringent the future salary structure will be compared to the current system this contract has the potential to greatly hinder Denver over the next few seasons.

    Here are the annual payments to Harrington:

    2010-11 – $5.765 million
    2011-12 – $6.226 million
    2012-13 – $6.687 million
    2013-14 – $7.149 million
    2014-15 – $7.610 million

    If there is an “Allan Houston rule” in the next CBA as there was in the last one where teams could remove one contract from their books I think Harrington’s will be the one Denver drops.

  • runningdonut

    I’m not defending the signing because originally I thought if the Nuggets wanted a player like Harrington they’d match Kleiza, who didn’t want to be here and cannot defend NBA forwards. If you have what Denver has and you need a veteran starting power forward who else do you get? Nuggets paid dearly for devoiding themselves of all assets, forcing themselves out of the draft and having a thin team with a bloated payroll and nothing of any trade value. If they gave a 5 year deal to Haslem it’s also not an idea fit and a bad contract.

    It is what it is, I’m in wait and see mode with Melo because he has never had a frontcourt mate with a similarly credible offensive game. You also have to factor in that Kenyon Martin is coming off major knee surgery and may not play next year. While he is very important to this team, Kenyon was a poor offensive player, who converedt a low percentage and didn’t make free throws. I honestly think Harrington is similar to Beasley, which is what confuses me

  • runningdonut

    “how many times did you see Kenyon cut through the lane and receive a pass from Carmelo because he was left uncovered?”

    Not too often Melo shot up a pull up 15 footer instead

  • runningdonut

    Denver Post says last 2 years are partially guaranteed. Sorry for comment spam

  • Stephen

    When you figure that the Nuggets lost Petro and gained Harrington I think you would have to agree that the team improved, they needed another big man and they got it. They did not lose any of their important players, and I think a second team consisting of Lawson, Smith, Graham, Harrington and Anderson will have to potential to put a lot of points on the board (although I can imagine a lot of points going on both sides of the board). Also I imagine Coach Karl will love having a 4 who is mostly offensive and one who is mostly defensive given how he likes to play with those things at the end of games, I just know you will see a lot of swapping of Afflalo and Martin for Smith and Harrington.

    I think the most significant thing that will come out of this is Martin will not have to be on the floor as much and wont be as worn down, hopefully protecting those knees.

    So over all I think the Nuggets will be a better team because of this signing, will it come back to bite them? Maybe, but the big three in Miami could come back to bite the Heat, it is yet to be seen.

    Also, the Williams signing intrigues me, I know he has been a bust so far, but i imagine he has a lot of potential, do think it is possible that the big thing to come out of this offseason for the Nuggets will be the veteran minimum contract they gave him?

  • Aaron

    Hey Jeremy,

    I see that ESPN has Brian Butch listed on the Nuggets roster as of right not, what do you think the chances of him making the final cut are and what effectiveness do you think he could have as if nothing else a big body out there to absorb fouls against Bynum and Gasol?

  • Aurress

    @Aaron : Well considering that Brian Butch just ruptured/tore his Patella Tendon in the Summer League, even if he makes the final cut, We won’t be in a much better situation. Seems the knee-blow-out-bug is currently plaguing Denver. :-(

  • Joe

    Could the Harrington signing be a signal that they are on the verge of trading K-Mart for a true center? Any teams out there looking for financial flexibility next year?

  • Chris

    Every year it seems like the Nuggets have a great team but they can’t get over the hump. Harrington could help though. He makes some big shots just his hanging on the rim is a problem hahaha. I can’t wait to see where Carmelo Anthony goes. Should be interesting.

    http://www.carmeloanthony2011.com/

    They have a lot of information on Carmelo and where he might go in 2011. Check it out. Some cool stuff.

  • asdqqq

    I just don’t buy your argument for why this will not fairly significantly help the offense.

    First, he’s good enough shooting from the perimeter that teams will care. Harrington has shot well over .360 from 3 since ’07 except for last year. Ray Allen shot .363 last year. Kobe shot .329. But that didn’t mean teams left them alone at the 3 point line. Most significantly, Harrington is a streaky shooter. Teams can’t take the risk of leaving him open and having him get in a rhythm from range.

    Second, I think you are misunderstanding how teams can double off of Kenyon. You ask how many times I saw “Kenyon cut through the lane and receive a pass from Carmelo because he was left uncovered.” I would respond, a small fraction of the amount of times I saw Kenyon brick a wide open 12-foot jumper, one that Harrington can regularly hit, as well as hitting the three pointer (he’s best off the catch and shoot, though the lack of a solid point guard or other playmaker in recent years has lead to a lot of his shots coming off the dribble, another reason to think his perimeter percentages will be better in the Nuggets system) and still making those same slashes to the basket that Kenyon was able to convert on. Sure I’d rather have Afflalo, Chauncy, Lawson, or JR taking the perimeter shot then Harrington, but it has been Kenyon taking those shots, and I’d much, much rather have Harrington taking those shots then Kenyon. And yes double-teaming can create an advantage for the rest of the offense, but when the double comes from Kenyon’s defender, that advantage is relatively small because there aren’t a lot of things he can do, particularly at any distance from the basket. And so the team doesn’t have to bother to rotate to him and leave another shooter open. They can just wait for the double guy to find his way back to Kenyon. Teams do it regularly because any advantage is dwarfed by the advantage to the defense of making it much harder for Melo to score.

    Replacing Kenyon with a better shooter and scorer like Harrington does two things. One, it makes the defense less likely to double, as there will likely be no weak link shooter on the perimeter to double off of, leaving Melo to destroy single coverage. And two, when Melo forces the other team to double him, Harrington’s range and abilities will leave him open more often (he can move further away from his original defender) and the team much more likely to score, either by a Harrington shot or a swing to another scorer better than Kenyon.

    I ultimately agree that this addition fails to address the Nuggets’ largest shortcoming last year of interior defense and rebounding. But there is literally no one out there at this point who the Nuggets could have used their MLE on to adequately address that issue. And the Nuggets also look like they are going to have to replace Kenyon for most if not all of this year. So I see Harrington as an adequate Kenyon replacement, much better offensively, not quite as strong defensively (though reports that he is a defensive liability are, in my opinion, overstated), who does not really harm their ability to address their other big man needs, which were always going to have to come through trading Kenyon’s expiring contract and possibly other assets.

  • q

    Well put asdqqq, I couldn’t have said it better myself. There is not a center out there that we could have got. Not to mention we have to protect our self if keyon not being able to play ever again he has had more knee surgeries then bill walton. Not to mention the flexibility of being able to Martin at the deadline to get rid of salary is nice to have. Jeremy you have yet to say who else you would have prefer we got? dampier? maybe Shaq however i don’t think we stand a chance of him coming to denver

  • q

    Well put asdqqq, I couldn’t have said it better myself. There is not a center out there that we could have got. Not to mention we have to protect our self if keyon not being able to play ever again he has had more knee surgeries then bill walton. Not to mention the flexibility of being able to Martin at the deadline to get rid of salary is nice to have. Jeremy you have yet to say who else you would have prefer we got?

  • avp

    ok well i think that they need 2 go out and get more better players 2 surround Melo like maybe get Shaq,Matt Barnes or even Shannon Brown sumbody iam just tired of seein Melo doin it all by himself or even try 2 get Channing Fyre, Richard Jefferson or Quentin Richarson or even Peja Stojakovic i mean he’s a big man and he can shoot it dont get no better then that we just need more depth 2 help out melo and crew so we can get rid of those nobodies that we have every yea cuz the cheap a** owner doesnt like 2 spend and George Karl really dont put his 2cents in and say oh well we need 2 get some new players no he just sit and just watch i mean wtf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111 DO SUMTHING DA***** IAM JUST SICK AND TIRED OF NOT GETTIN 2 THE BIG STAGE I MEAN PLAYOFFS IS GUD BUT WE NEED 2 GET THE BIG STAGE AND HOW WE GONNA DO THAT IS BY GETTIN SOME DEPTH DOWN LOW SO WE CAN GO AGAINST THE BIG ON THE LAKERS SO THE OWNER NEEDS 2 STOP BEING CHEAP AND WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 AL HARRINGTON WE DUMB IDEA WAS IT 2 GET THIS BUM A** DUDE I MEAN HE SUCKS CUZ HE PLAYED 4, 2 SUCKY TEAMS IN THE PAST BAD MOVE NUGGETS BACK F***IN MOVE :-(

  • Chad

    I like it. Beasley is a headcase, Haslem is a role player, and cannot create his own shot, and Al Jefferson is just too ugly to hang out in Denver.

    But, what is up with Harrington’s wrinkled head?

  • Chad

    We need Matt Barnes.

  • Kyle

    Jeremy-

    Do you think that the Al Harrington Deal may have been partially in an effort to keep Melo in Denver? Since he still has not signed his extension and the talk right now is about him possibly/probably going to NY next season, Maybe the Nugs are trying to surround him wih extra talent in a plea to Melo. Maybe they are not getting the best Players available, but they are trying to help out Melo.

  • NE Nug Fan

    Jeremy, I love what you said about double teams. It makes me cringe every time Melo complains about the number of double/triple teams he gets. He should love that. A smart team would use that as it’s best weapon, not as an excuse/complaint.

  • Zach

    Admittedly, it’s taken a full day for me to really understand how I feel about the Harrington signing. At first, I was slightly excited to get a big guy who can actually bring some outside shooting to the squad. I am tired of seeing Nene and K-Mart standing around bricking 15 footers and hopefully Harrington can put a little more pressure on opposing big men to come out and guard outside of the paint.

    On the other hand, this signing does nothing to help the interior defensive issues that so plagued the Nuggies last season. He is definately not a great rebounder and doesn’t seem to like to bang around inside. We already have plenty of big men who arent true post-players, why add another? Going into this offseason, I thought that the Nuggets needed to go after a big that bangs inside and roughs up opposing centers. He doesn’t need to be a great scorer, he just needs to be able to do the dirty work and rebound with the best of them.

    I don’t think this move will noticeably improve the Nuggets next year, but at least it’s something.

  • K

    You would think the nuggets would learn a lesson fro the cavs/lebron. Getting the al harringtons and antwoine jammison’s of the world are not going to win championships and will not help keep Melo in Denver. I was really hoping that they could make a big move by trading some combination of Smith/Kmart/Graham and get a real player . I am a big fan of all 3 of those guys but if we are homset the nuggets arent winning with the team we have now.

  • Warner

    I have to say when I first heard news of the Harrington signing I was very pleased. First of all, I strongly believe we should have made a firm push for beasley. The wolves gave 2 2nd round picks for him he is certainly worth that as a gamble. GK has a good history of turning busts from previous teams into successful role players for the nuggs. (afflalo, jones) for sure. If we had beasley and harrington now that would be a strong improvement from last year if we included one more big bruiser center. With Harrington in a good system he will be a good piece i truly believe that

  • Warner

    P.S. I’d love to see us trade K-mart for a respectable player/contract mid-season. If he doesn’t play more than 40 plus games insurance covers 80 percent of his salary which is very appealing for any team. I’d also like to see us trade Jr for anything as far as I’m concerned. He’s a terrible influence on lawson and I don’t blame melo for wanting to leave with him and kmart in that locker room. Get rid of those 2 players I believe melo stays. I know they’re expring contracts so maybe he stays regardless. Lets hope

  • Aussie Nugs Fan

    Jeremy I completely agree with your thoughts about this deal. But from an optimistic point of view, the nuggets could replicate a phoenix/orlando offense that has worked pretty well for those teams recently, that is four shooters around a big. Consider a lineup of: Chauncey/Ty, Afflalo/JR, Melo, Harrington, Nene
    Quite often we might have four three point threats. Granted Nene is not amare or dwight. But still lets rain the threes next year!!!

  • Colin

    If we can just pull in Amundson, who I believe hasn’t signed yet and I heard he visited so he is clearly interested, then we would have a hell of a team. THe guy plays D and pushes people around.

  • Sylvester

    Hey i honestly think that we should of reached out for shacq now alot of ppl may say why? yea he is old and a little out of it but check the stats shacq didnt play like he did in miami and LA because he was on orers to let lebron run the floor denver needs a big man not someone with height but with size that can make guards think twice about going to the hoop, if you look at every game when melo n lebron match up melo allways shuts him down on defense and lebron cannot hold melo, in my opinion melo has allways been the better player he just doesnt have the right pieces i feel if we got shacq just for 2 seasons we can be a strong team and also just the star power he has will be abig boost to denver i love denver its my second home and i love nuggets ball and we have a great squad honestly smith needs to be less emotional and affalo shouldnt start honestly you need impact when the game starts and smith needs more minutes to get him up and going and being a starter will boost his confidence.

  • Sylvester

    p.s. im upset the only big news we had this offseason was melos wedding smh.

  • Jackson

    i love nene but i remember him saying in the middle of last year that he wont play much longer, 1 or 2 more years, wants to be home in brazil something about family an religion… but he is also a free agent at the end of next year, if he were to retire we’d be screwed right? maybe try unload him sometime in the next year package him with a JR or KMart or melo whatever, just a thought??

  • Elsid

    Overall, does the Harrington move even matter?… I think he is a solid player and is worth a mid level deal but it certainly doesn’t help us at this point. With Melo leaving dosen’t anyone else want to try and aviod the train wreck coming down the tracks in 2011? My question is why didn’t we save the money,shop Melo,and try to get a preimer scorer that maybe (and I mean maybe) could help replace what we are going to lose when Melo goes to NYC.

  • TSal

    I think Harrington will help a bit. He’s a Kenyon that can score. Defense can be taught and unfortunately when you play for terrible teams, you spend time playing keep up (scoring points) and not trying to stay ahead (defense). Let JR and Martin go and let’s get an actual big who knows his job is to stay in the paint. If I see Kenyon throw up another three I’m gonna puke. I don’t really see Melo leaving Denver. He’s a business man and won’t walk away from money like that. The Knicks have Amare, that’s it, and he ain’t much. Beast in the paint and putting up points, but inconsistant and lets his attitude get in the way. Do you really consider that a big three in NY anyway? Melo and Amare are terrible at playing defense and CP3 is a great point but what else (IMO). His best chance to get to the big stage is right here in Denver, and if he went to NY, it would be years even with AMare and CP3. Playoffs consistantly, always in the running in the west, and was one game away from championship game. Let’s get it Denver!

  • http://mergenchuluun.com Mergen

    Al Jefferson – why couldn’t the Nuggets swung a deal to get him? A few years ago when KG was available, I was really hoping the Nuggets would make the move to try to pick him up… I really wish we did. We need complete players who are true leaders.

    PS: Why didn’t my last comment show? Is that because I’m writing from Mongolia?

  • http://espn.com Chris

    Let ge T-Mac lets get him shape, and let him play 2 Gaurd, come nuggets what are you waiting for.

  • http://sportsaccordingtome.com Stefan

    Check out my thoughts on the sale of the Warriors and an offseason version of Charles Oakley Rankings

    sportsaccordingtome.com

  • Warner

    I’m very pleased with harrington. The dude can put up 25 on any given night. I really wish we got beasley though the wolves gave up 2 2nd round picks for him! He’s 6 10 and has a lot of upside. Harrington will start for kmart and we should trade mart anyway along with jr. Besides Karl will put harrington into shape as a role player he’s great at doing that. Harrington will really contribute to this team I’m very pleased. Considering the talent remaining. See ya kmart and jr dont let the door smash you across the ass on your way out!

  • aussie nugs fan

    Of course i understand how infuriating JR smith can be, and maybe he has had his chance. But im really scared that if we trade him he will go somewhere else and become an all-star, his ability is unquestionable, i really hope he ‘gets it’ this year and we can retain him.

  • runningdonut

    My thoughts on coming around the Harrington signing
    http://sbnation.com/e/1338258

  • MileHighMark

    All I keep hearing is that Carmelo is leaving the team. I’m not sure that he doesn’t stay for 3 more years at $65 million. Harrington is a legit offensive threat at PF, something this team hasn’t had in a very long time. And I think Nene can hold hid own one on one with most centers in the league, Birdman will be more effective with more room to work as well. Harrington will help keep the double teams off of Melo and the centers and give the offense much needed punch. I think with Lawson’s improvement at point and another good year for Afflalo, Chauncey and Smith, the Nugget’s might just have enough fire power to overcome the perceived lack of defense and take it to the Western Conference.

  • Brian

    I guess my only question on this thrashing and continued discontent of the signing of Harrington, is what do u propose the Nuggets do? Roll over and play dead? Not use their mid-level exception? They needed a SCORING forward because Kenyon just doesnt cut it night in and night out. They have no guarantee of Carmelo resigning and no guarantee of Nene signing an extension next year. If they dont sign Harrington they end up with Jermaine O’Neil or another less than average shooting forward with more baggage then talent. Unlike them, Harrington has talent and is committed to playing on a WINNING TEAM unlike the Knicks. He also becomes a viable trade asset in the event that the team decides they would like to move Kenyon Martin. Clearly they should have just not signed Harrington after losing out on others, let Carmelo go, traded KMart, and just became a face in the crowd in the western conference. If you have a better option, then send it to Kroenke!

  • Luke

    Hey Jeremy what do you think of possibly trying to trade k-marts big contract for maybe a guy like andris biedrins? he had a horrible season last year but hes proven that hes a tough rebounder, and he brings some size. package k-mart with a joey graham or something? idk if it would work but if they could pull it for biedrins or a similar player wouldnt that be good?

  • J truth cherry creek fo life

    there’s all this talk about us matching up against the lakers, I think we should not look toooo far ahead we have other western conf new teams we should worry about mark cuban and his mavs will be a threat against us…utah will also be a threat with al jeff aboard…the reason why we have no free agent big man is because mark cuban stole em all and hustled his butt off…. the mavs have “4 centers” are u kiddin me… and we have al harrington and sheldon alien williams?… The main thing is we have the master mind back coach karl who knows wat it takes to win…forget dantley

  • asdqqq

    Just to sort of wrap up the discussion that this post began with, the contract is definitely the partially guaranteed one discussed by Hollinger, not the fully guaranteed one feared by Jeremy.

  • cougflank

    please please please dont sign shaq. i dont care about his numbers. he has killed the last two teams he has played for. ideal situation for the nuggets: deal kenyon martin for someone like marc gasol from memphis (prob not gonna happen) or roy hibbert from the pacers. they buyout k-marts contract and we resign him on the cheap for the remainder of the season. we can package jr and joey graham as well to sweeten the deal and finally get a true center to help. if we get someone who can protect the rim and get rebounds our defense will AUTOMATICALLY get much much better. nene can move to the 4 and we would have harrington and k-mart off the bench. that team could definitely play with the best in the league. i only wish it was likely to happen.

  • DHinNYC

    I have to imagine Shaq would jump at the chance to ruin a Lakers’ three-peat on a team that desperately needs a big center. Would that inspire him to step up his game? Especially after humbling campaigns in Phx and Cle? I think it sounds interesting considering we have next to no chance at snagging a decent real big.

  • GZ

    Chris Paul has mentioned Orlando, New York, and LA (Lakers) as his preferred trade destinations. However, since the Hornets without Paul would be in a definite rebuilding mode around Thornton and Collison, they would almost certainly require Paul’s new team to absorb Emeka Okafor’s horrific contract ($11.5 million, 4 years) as part of the deal. It’s hard to see how any of those teams achieves this while sending enough young talent or expiring contracts back to NOLA to make the salaries balance. I could go further in depth explaining why I think none of these three teams is a good match for CP3+1, but I want to get to my main thought: how about the Nuggets as a potential trade partner? We could swap Chauncey Billups and K-Mart’s expiring contract for Paul and Okafor straight up. NOLA would get two contracts which could expire at the end of the year (Billups’s ’11-’12 campaign is a team option), which would free up a ton of cap space for that struggling franchise when combined with Peja’s expiring deal. Denver would get a statistical clone of KMart with healthy knees (roughly 10 pts, 9 reb, 1 blk, $15 mil) which would allow them to continue competing in the West withouth K-Mart. In Paul, they would get a young upgrade over Billups and a strong incentive for Melo to ink his extension and start the SuperFriends West. It works on the Trade Machine:

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=2dr6lb2

    What do you think? Does CP3 bring us enough upside to justify replacing K-Mart’s expiring contract of death with Okafor’s through 2014?

  • J truth cherry creek fo life

    GZ never trade billups he is the reason why the nuggets are better…remember they had andre miller he could not do it and then they had the fast A.I and he was not the answer…it was billups that brought the team together learning how to win as a team….trading him for chris paul would only make things difficult…having to learn a whole new sturcture in the offense…it would be goood to get cp3 but dont trade him for billups NO WAY!!!

  • Boo

    DO NOT TRADE J.R. SMITH!!!!!!!!

  • GZ

    J truth- I love Billups as much as anyone, but there is unfortunately no hope for the Nuggets to win the Western Conference, much less the NBA Championship with their current roster. We won’t have Birdman for the first month at least, and I’m doubtful that we will get anything at all out of KMart and his broken down knees this year. This means that if we stand pat with our current roster, we’ll waste our last chance to convince Melo that he can be competitive here in Denver and that he should stay. However, if you bring over Okafor to fill KMart’s spot, and more importantly, you bring in Melo’s buddy Paul, suddenly we not only contend this year, but we make Denver a lot more appealing for Melo to sign on long-term. Also, this argument disregards the fact that Billups is 33 while Paul is 25 and that Paul would be PERFECT to run the up-tempo style that seems to be most successful for the Nuggets.

    Also, as a side note, I think the AI comparison is unfair to Paul because AI was always a scorer first and a distributor second (AI averaged only 4.0 assists per game over his career). Paul creates for his teammates first (10.0 APG over his career) much like Steve Nash.

  • Colby

    I think that this would be a great trade for the Nuggets.
    Check it out.
    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=2bovg3r

    The Nuggets would also have to give up some draft picks but I think it would be worth it. We still get to keep chauncey (maybe move him to the 2 spot) and we keep lawson, and Hibbert is that big presence in the post that we need. And we also cut our salary by around 7 million. I dont really see this trade happening but I wish that they would try for it.

    A potential starting lineup of CP3, Chauncey, Melo, Nene, Hibbert and second unit of Lawson, Thornton, Afflalo, Harrington, Birdman would make us into one of the best teams in the west.

  • GZ

    Colby-

    First of all, props for putting together a 3-team trade in the trade machine. I agree with you that this would be a fantastic trade for the Nuggets – we get the best player involved (CP3) and the two best young prospects involved (Thornton & Hibbert). I just don’t see either of the other teams actually wanting to participate in this deal. First of all, the Pacers are in rebuilding mode, so why would they want to trade their promising young center and some expiring contracts for two long-term deals (one of which is Okafor’s disaster of a contract) and two smaller expiring contracts? As for New Orleans, I think losing their franchise player would be seen as the price paid for unloading Okafor, but I think including Thornton and Wright is too steep a price, considering NOLA is rebuilding and thus trying to hoard promising, young, inexpensive talent.

    If we accept your idea that moving Chauncey to the 2 would work, then JR Smith becomes expendable, and you could do this trade instead:

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=25qbzz2

  • Colby

    GZ

    You think the hornets would go for that trade? That would be a nice trade if the nuggets could pull it off. Also, you think there is any way we can get hibbert without getting rid of lawson? That would be nice because then we would have two great young guys, and I think that hibbert is on the brink of having a breakout season. If we could get him somehow, I think that we need to do it.

  • GZ

    Rebuilding teams like the Hornets are looking for two things: expiring contracts and young studs. The Nuggets are in win-now mode, trying desperately to capitalize on our window with Melo (and thus hopefully convince him to extend it). This makes good trading partners as both teams value different things and can both get what they want without sacrificing too much.

    While I think they might go for the KMart + JR swap for CP3 and Okafor, JR’s stock has taken a big hit after last season and he may not be viewed as the young stud he once was. Roughly $6 million in cap relief is nothing to sneeze at, but it may not be enough to entice them. The advantage of throwing in Chauncey now instead of JR is that he provides them almost double the cap relief that JR gives them, not to mention saves face for the GM that he traded an all star for an all star (CP3 for Billups). In any case, if we keep Chauncey out of the deal, then we may need to sweeten it by adding additional cap relief or a young stud. Unfortunately the only other sources of cap relief we can offer are Melo and Nene, neither of which we want to part with, which leaves our lone young stud, Ty Lawson. You could argue that, since we’re in win now mode and we already have two all-star point guards on the roster in Paul and Billups with a serviceable backup in Anthony Carter, he is expendable. Maybe I’m over-valuing Lawson and JR because I’m a Nuggets fan, but I have to think that this deal is better than anything they would get offered by the Knicks, Magic, or Lakers:

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=2e4fgla

  • Aussie Nugs Fan

    Agree with GZ. If you are getting Paul, you definitely don’t need Chauncey and Lawson anyway, however since both of these guys have value on the open market I think what NOLA would want is a 3-way trade which turns one of these guys into a young big. Maybe lawson to indy for hibbert and then he goes to NOLA since they would want/need a centre. Still definitely worth it, Okafor = Martin, Paul = best point guard in the league!!

  • GZ

    Here is a link to John Hollinger’s chat that discusses this topic:

    http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chat/_/id/33571

    Here are a few excerpts that are relevant:

    “I’m surprised Denver isn’t on his list, since that’s the easiest way to team up with Melo. A deal would get really complex and involve a third or even fourth team, since Hornets would want to flip Chauncey and/or Lawson to other teams. Also, I’m not sure Nuggies have enough young talent to pull this off. But they’re a sleeper.

    Remember, for any of these teams, you can make a deal that works under the cap. But the key is that it must be the winning bid — i.e., better than anything Portland or Orlando can throw out there.

    **IF** the Hornets put CP on the market — which I seriously doubt will happen until midseason at the absolute earliest — the Blazers are in great position to win a bidding war because of the exirings (Przybilla + Miller) and all the other young assets they can put into a deal.

    One thing for Blazer fans to remember, however, is that getting CP fundamentally will change how they play. Brandon Roy in particular would have to radically alter his game, and Nate McMillan would have to change a lot of how he does things.

    Hornets already have two good young guards so young bigs would be more valuable to them.

    Also, there’s one other important thing to remember everyone: Expiring contracts won’t be worth diddly this year as long as teams like Cleveland and Toronto are sitting on massive trade exceptions and several other teams (Nets, Kings, Wolves, etc.) are well under the cap.”

    In short, it doesn’t look too good for the Nuggets to get CP3 because expiring contracts are less valuable and we don’t have any good young players except Lawson, who we would need to flip into a good young big man in order to entice New Orleans. And honestly, if we can pull that off, maybe we should just keep it simple and keep that big for ourselves.

    Finally, one depressing thought I had about this whole CP3 business: Does it seem foreboding to anyone else that he says he wants to team up with another star, specifically Melo, but did not include Denver on his list of preferred destinations? After the back-room dealings that went on between Wade-Lebron-Bosh leading up to free agency this summer, I wonder if CP3 already knows something we don’t- that Melo has already made up his mind not to resign with the Nuggets?

  • Aussie Nugs Fan

    Guys being totally realistic about an offer to NOLA that is better than what 28 other teams can produce, and actually convinces them to part with a superstar. Maybe it would take this… http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=25zuj9v
    I personally believe this would still make us a contender.
    You could follow this with a seperate trade with indy involving lawson to improve the front court if you had Paul coming.

  • Boo

    Colby i like that trade but we NEED to keep J.R. he is going to be GREAT

  • Erlingur

    What about Earl Barron? He only played 7 games last year, but put up some impressive numbers: 11.7 PPG, 11.0 RPG in 33.7 MPG. He’s long and strong. Is he available and/or healthy?