Nuggets News: Post-lockout edition

Early Saturday morning news broke that the NBA lockout has finally concluded after 149 days of fierce negotiations. Though the deal has yet to be finalized, a “handshake” agreement is said to have been reached between the owners and players. All signs are pointing towards a season starting Christmas Day, with training camps and free agency beginning as soon as Dec. 9. Between now and the Nuggets first game of the 2011-12 season, which will likely be at Utah on Dec. 26, we’ll be covering a lot of material, but before we begin our analysis, here are some links to help get you acclimated with the new CBA and how it affects your favorite basketball team.

The winners and losers of a new CBA by Henry Abbott: This is a great little article by our fellow TrueHoop colleague that touches on who benefits from the new CBA and who doesn’t. From the sound of it, the owners took a harsh stance on creating a more balanced league for all 30 teams, and for the most part, came out victorious. No longer can teams like the Mavericks and Lakers spend uncontrollably while the rest of the small-market franchises watch in the distance. This new CBA has made it much more difficult to go over the luxury tax and in turn will create a more competitive environment for everyone. In this sense, you have to tip your hat to the owners, as teams like the Nuggets benefit greatly. By the way, Abbott goes out of his way to mention the Nuggets as a clear winner of this new CBA stating, “Remember when the Heat had all that cap room to sign free agents? The Nuggets are basically like that, only now all kinds of teams will be on a course to shed payroll. There’s not a system in the world in which you can’t parlay tiny roster commitments into potential.”

How does the NBA’s tentative deal sound?: In this most recent episode, ESPN’s popular 5-on-5 series featuring TrueHoop contributors from across the board, analyzes just how damaging this lockout truly was to the NBA’s reputation. The general consensus: Although there will be some backlash, and even a few hardcore sports fans that may never actually watch an NBA game again (which I find hard to believe), the vast majority of fans will forgive and forget come Dec. 25. Speaking for myself, I know my view of the players has changed. I didn’t think they were quite as stubborn as they proved to be, but in the end I give them credit for saving this season and that’s all that matters.

First look at the new deal by Larry Coon: If you’re unfamiliar with Coon, all you need to know is that he’s the No. 1 guy when it comes to understanding the rules and regulations of the CBA. He wrote a Q-and-A-style bible for the last CBA and I’m sure he’ll do the same for the new one. In this article he reminds us that the “handshake” agreement is not yet signed and therefore, not yet completed. Owners and players still need to vote in order to finalize the negotiation process and unfortunately there are still many, what Coon refers to as “B-List” issues, that need to be resolved such as the age limit for league eligibility and drug testing policies. Coon also reminds Nuggets fans across the world of just how bad of a decision JR Smith, Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin made now that the lockout has ended more prematurely than they had originally thought.

Denver Nuggets have lineup questions to settle as players and owners tentatively agree to end NBA lockout by Benjamin Hochman: I can’t tell you how happy I was to read this article — one that finally discusses the Denver Nuggets lineup situation and how it will be presented in actual NBA games. Hochman simply covers what the Nuggets lineup appears to be like right now without longtime contributors JR Smith and Kenyon Martin, as well as recent Nuggets addition, Wilson Chandler. There are two points that don’t necessarily reflect Hochman’s viewpoint from the article but are ones I do have to quibble with however. First, Hochman states, “If Denver doesn’t re-sign Nene, it’s quite possible that the Nuggets won’t overpay for an available big man,” and although this is entirely possible, I have a hard time seeing it come to fruition as the Nuggets have nearly the most amount of cap space of any team in the entire NBA and will need a center desperately should Nene jettison himself to a different location. As I’ve said before, Koufos and Mozgov are good, solid backup big men — but they’re nothing more than that at this point in time. Throwing them into the fire that is the starting center position on an NBA team and asking them to handle guys like Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire and Zach Randolph on a nightly basis just doesn’t seem like the recipe for success. And after all, why not overpay for a guy like Marc Gasol or even someone like Samuel Dalembert who has actually started several season at center before? The Nuggets have the money and they waited for the perfect opportunity to spend it as the new CBA will see free agent salaries dip in near-dramatic fashion. Bottom line: To me, by starting Koufos or Mozgov at center, the Nuggets are taking a firm stance on rebuilding, which doesn’t necessarily need to be taken given the amount of talent in all other positions on our roster. Hochman also states that without Kenyon Martin the Nuggets will look to Al Harrington at the power forward position, and again, although I agree that this is a possibility with Karl at the helm, it would be a grave mistake considering how it already failed several times before last year. Finally, I don’t care how Karl feels about “rookies,” starting anyone but the Manimal (aka, Kenneth Faried) at the power forward position seems clueless.

NBA Faces Major Economical Changes featuring Chris Mannix: This is probably the best, most informative video I’ve seen yet regarding the new CBA and how it might affect the NBA landscape. Mannix was in the groundbreaking meeting in which David Stern and Billy Hunter reportedly came together on a handshake agreement to end the lockout and he discusses many of those aspects from his point of view in the clip.

How the NBA deal got done and what’s in it by Chris Sheridan: Though many of our fellow Nuggets bloggers have long despised Sheridan for his alleged “East Coast bias,” the facts remains: He called the Carmelo-to-New York trade from the very beginning, stuck by his word the entire time and saw his prediction come to fruition in the end. He’s as plugged-in to the NBA media circuit as anyone and is usually delivering the juicy material long before the rest of the pack. In this article he details some of the more critical adjustments made to the new CBA, including the decision to leave out what would have been referred to as, “The Carmelo Anthony rule,” which — had it been passed — would have prevented players whom desired a trade to another team the right to sign an extend-and-trade deal such as the one Carmelo Anthony did before being dealt to New York. This would have essentially kept these types of players on their incumbent teams until their contracts expired, forcing them to “deal” with the pain of still getting paid millions of dollars to play the game they love until they were no longer contractually obligated to play for that franchise. I actually think the decision to leave this clause out was a good one as many of the other adjustments made to the CBA should prevent this type of situation all together in a sort of Adam Smith Invisible Hand type of way; plus, if it ever does happen, it’s always best for those two sides to go their separate ways as we saw with the Nugget and Anthony this past season. Could you have imagined that playing out for an entire year?!?

NBA players reactions to tentative labor deal by Nicki Jhabvala: This is simply a fun little read that highlights many of the best tweets put forth by NBA players upon hearing the news that the lockout has ended.

NBA’s agreement sheds light on larger issue: today’s leaders by Ian Thomsen: I fully endorse this as my vicarious position on the NBA lockout. That is all. (Actually that is not all — if you haven’t yet read this piece on Masai Ujiri by Thomsen, I highly advise you to!!! After all, he is our GM…)

FAQ: Lockout’s over — what do you need to know? by Royce Young: This is another FAQ-style piece on some of the most important questions you’ll probably need to know (as pointed out in the title) about the new CBA, the upcoming season and everything in between.

The Top 40 Players in NBA Free Agency by the CBSSports.com Eye on Basketball staff: This is an absolute must-read for Nuggets fans and NBA fans alike. As previously mentioned, the Nuggets have the most cap space the team has had in years so this free agency period is going to be extremely important, especially considering our long-tenured starting power forward and center might very well both be gone before the start of the season. Speaking of which, guess who happens to find himself atop the Eye on Basketball staff’s list of the best players in free agency? That’s right, Nene. All in all, the Nuggets have a whopping FIVE of the top 40 players available in free agency according to the article. Much to our delight here at RMC however, Marc Gasol comes in at No. 2 on the list. So when faced with the dilemma of whom to overpay, I ask you one simple question Nuggets fans: “Nene or Gasol?”

Follow me on Twitter!

  • Omar

    good stuff kalen. keep up the good work.

    • Kalen

      Saw your comment in the other thread, haha, I thought it was pretty funny. Now that this thing is over, I’m ready to roll. Keep checking in frequently as we’ll be cramming a lot of material in here within the next month leading up to the season.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003405426985 Jocelyn

      Now aslomt every woman has her own unique classic UGG, and this probably with its cute appearance and warm comfort superiority.

  • GK4Prez

    Resign Maybyner Rodney Hilário aka Nene!!!

  • Andrew

    Great to see the nba (in all likelihood) up and running again! Kalen, Why can’t/won’t the nuggs keep nene and overpay gasol. I’ve been saying this all along, but I think nene most wants to move to a more natural power forward role and would love that move. It may even cause kmart to consider less money in a backup role to win a title…

    Could you imagine gasol/nene/gallo/afflalo and Ty law, with some combo of moz/koufos/kmart/faried/Hamilton/jr/Chandler/miller backing them up?! They could get rid of Chandler and jr for a more steady shooter and a draft pick and this team could be a legit challenge for a title…don’t you think?!

    • http://roundballminingcompany.com Kalen

      I agree, that sounds like a pretty good plan, and it’s totally possible too. The only thing is, I’m just not sure what Nene is feeling at this point in his career. Word on the street is there’s gonna be about a dozen teams going all out for him, and chances are that a lot of them will be giving him all the money he wants. So it’s really just up to him to decide whether he wants a change of scenery or not. The other problem is that getting Marc Gasol is not going to be an easy task. Not only will he have a similar number of teams going after him as Nene will, but he’s a restricted free agent to boot. If we could someone land one of them it would make signing the other much more realistic, and for the record, I’d have absolutely no problem giving each of them a max contract under the new CBA; however, I’ve heard that each team can only give one player on its roster a max contract, so there’s that to think about to…

      • asdqqq

        On max contracts:
        Teams can still have as many max contracts as they can fit. There is now a special “super-max” extension (more money) that they can give to one player coming off his rookie deal. They can only do one of these.

  • Andrew

    I forgot they would still have birdman, too!

  • Omar

    Been hearing a lot rumors from my source that the Houston Rockets are willing to pay Nene as much as a max contract. Just a rumor but not sounding good for Nene making a return to Denver. Kalen how do you feel about re-signing Wilson Chandler and trading him for a draft pick. Next years draft is going to be extremely deep. I know Wilson is currently signed in China with an no NBA opt-out clause but in a report by Marc Stein he said both J.R and Wil were likely to be released by their china teams once the lockout ended. I think quite a few teams would be willing to trade a lottery pick for him.

    • http://roundballminingcompany.com Kalen

      Wow, I haven’t heard that yet. I could see J.R. being released simply because he’s already butting heads with management over in China but both of them being released would be interesting. Either way, J.R. is as good as gone, but yes, we will undoubtedly get something for Chandler. I just see no way with Gallo, Hamilton and Harrington here how we hang on to Chandler any longer. I would LOVE to see us get a first rounder in next year’s draft, but it depends what team we trade him to. Then again, we have the leverage because he’s a restricted free agent. So for example, if the Bobcats want to do a sign-and-trade with us we can basically demand their first rounder and if they aren’t willing to negotiate then they simply don’t get Chandler — it’s as simple as that. The way we’re built right now I could definitely see us trading for draft picks since Masai’s strengths appear to lie in his ability to analyze talent, plus, we’re such a young team with a lot of cap room as well. It will be interesting seeing how Chandler’s situation plays out but his team in China will have to release him soon I’d think due to free agency having a time limit and all.

  • Neal

    What’s the latest on the amnesty clause they were talking about? Are we going to be able to get out of the Big Al contract and have even more cap room?

    • http://roundballminingcompany.com Kalen

      From what I’ve heard, there will be some sort of amnesty clause. If this is the case, then I see no way we hang on to Big Al. His contract isn’t atrocious, but it’s just not valuable to us right now either, especially with Hamilton now on the team.

  • Omar

    although big al’s contract is rather atrocious if Nene does indeed leave then we will have a huge hole in our pf position. now i personally am not a fan of the pf free agents. the best being carl landry and david west both who are rather old. al could end up playing some significant minutes if nene does not return.

  • popex_17

    Kalen, so happy that we will have ourselves a season, words can’t really describe it.
    Finally, we can talk about real basketball, real choices to make.
    Concerning the Nuggets roster for this upcoming season, I find it hard to believe that the Nuggets will amnesty Harrington’s contract. This is simply a timing dilemma, not a player dilemma. It’s clear to almost everybody that Al’s contract will get amnestied, but I rather think it will happen after this season ends, not before it begins. I say this because every team in the NBA must have at least 47-48 million committed in salaries for this season (85% of the salary cap, which will probably be around 56-57 million dollars) and as of right now, the Nuggets only have 29 million (I don’t know whether Chandler’s contract is taken into account since he is playing in China, but I think it does). The 2 rookies will get around 1,5 million each + triple A probably will get a raise worth at least 2 million/year (he’s scheduled to make 3 million this season), meaning a total salary of 35 million for this year.
    Considering that this year’s free agent class is rather weak, I say it’s for the best to spend as little as possible (ideally re-signing Nene and getting another SF-PF from the free agents + amnestied players..Thad Young is my favorite) and waiting for next season to make a splash. This way, we can develop the youngsters without any pressure on them, get a good first round pick for next year’s draft which will be awesome and have a bunch of cap room to try and get D12 or other very good players. Remember, we’ll get rid of about 14 million next year with Dre’s and Harrington’s contracts coming of the books.
    I am all for staying put this season, getting a top 7 lottery pick next year and building a young explosive team in the future.

  • Omar

    also the jazz might be trading millsap. hopefully china releases wilson and were able to do a s&t for paul millsap. jazz is currently in need of a sf and we need a pf.