The free agency big man logjam is starting to clear out a bit, but four days into the signing period, we still do not know where Nene will be playing this year. However, fellow centers Tyson Chandler (four years, $56 million), Marc Gasol (four years, $58 million) and DeAndre Jordan (four years, $42.7 million) have completed deals and the market value for Nene is becoming apparent.
The New Jersey Nets have a four year offer for Nene that is reportedly in the $60-$65 million range, they Houston is still desperate to acquire a center and they are known to be high on Nene. The Indiana Pacers were another team seeking Nene’s signature, but they chose to sign power forward David West formerly of the New Orleans Hornets to a two year, $20 million pact. Of course, Denver has offered Nene a high dollar extension last season and they worked to try to get a deal done up until the lockout kicked in.
The market suggests Nene is certainly worth a five year, $56-$60 million contract. You have to keep in mind that markets can shift quickly and the basic rule that drives change is supply and demand. There has been enough big men on the market to meet the needs of those looking to acquire one. However, as the supply shrinks, it becomes obvious to those with demand that there is a very good chance they might end up missing out on getting a player to meet their needs. We are down to two starting caliber centers, one being Nene and the other Samuel Dalembert.
There are at least three teams in the market for one or both of those players, Denver, Houston, New Jersey and possibly even Golden State. Because of the new shortage, the price could increase significantly. Houston, who has had the worst luck of any team seeing Yao Ming suffer a career ending injury and then the three way trade that would have brought in Pau Gasol and cleared enough cap space to sign Nene was vetoed. If Daryl Morey becomes desperate enough, he might amnesty project center Hasheem Thabeet in order to make a stronger run at Nene. Should Dwight Howard not be available presently, New Jersey may very well throw more money at Nene.
I have no doubt Denver is willing to pay the current market price for Nene, but if either one or both of the other teams involved increases their offer, I believe Denver will walk away. I do believe Denver will have to outbid the other suitors in order to retain Nene and while I have found that notion unlikely there is the possibility that the Nuggets are simply being patient with Nene as they are with Arron Afflalo.
There is very little information that comes out of the Pepsi Center, but there have been whispers that the Nuggets are confident they will be able to resign Nene. The more I think about it, the more likely it seems to me Denver is waiting out the situation in order to avoid bidding against themselves. It is possible Nene agrees with a deal to play in Houston or Jersey/Brooklyn tomorrow, but it seems to me Denver is going to see what Nene can get on the market and then choose if they want to top it or bow out.
It certainly is possible the Nets choose not to make Nene an official offer and that the Rockets cannot clear enough cap space to scare Denver away. In that situation, the market shifts again, this time in Denver’s favor as the demand melts away. At that point, Denver could offer Nene a four year deal in the $50 million range and possibly hang onto him for less money than was expected.
At this point it could go either way. You can always guess where the market is going, but no one ever really knows for sure.
Denver Signs DeMarre Carroll
As Kalen shared with everyone, Sam Amick has reported the Nuggets have agreed to a one year contract with DeMarre Carroll. Carroll was a fantastic player at Missouri where his strength and energy overwhelmed opponents. Things were not so easy for Carroll in the NBA and after getting some fairly consistent playing time as a rookie in Memphis, he has faded into obscurity.
I see this signing as a response to Milwaukee matching the offer sheet for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Carroll is a similar player who is a much better defender than offensive player. He can guard three positions and I even saw some film of his second game in Memphis his rookie season where he covered Rasho Nesterovic, Andrea Bargnani, Chris Bosh, Hedo Turkoglu and Marco Bellineli. I am not referring to situations where he switched onto one of them. He was tasked with covering each one of those players at one time or another.
Carroll plays sound defense and is good at positioning himself properly depending on the relationship between the ball and his man. He is strong and willing to bang on the block and goes after rebounds aggressively.
Offensively, Carroll is quite inept. He has a serious chicken wing going on his shot with his right elbow pointing well right of the basket and he never fully extends his right arm when he shoots. He can dribble in a straight line and is able to trigger the break after getting a rebound. He runs the floor well, but is not a great finisher.
Carroll may not get much playing time with Denver, but as an energy player willing to guard anyone on the floor, he will certainly be called on from time to time.