Nuggets News

With the start of the 2011-12 NBA season less than a week away and Afflalo still not re-signed, Nuggets fans everywhere are beginning to wonder what exactly is going on behind closed doors. Is Nuggets’ management asking for too little? Is Afflalo fielding offers from other teams? What kind of contract stipulations, if any, are being discussed? These are questions only a select few in the upper echelon of the Nuggets organization know the answer to, and unfortunately for us, they’re not telling. Until the day comes when these mysterious answers are revealed, there’s not much going on in Nuggets Nation.

The newest member of the Denver Nuggets to chime in on the heated “Do we need a superstar?” debate is George Karl, and apparently he’s not having any of it. On KKFN (also known as 104.3 The Fan) Karl recently stated:

I think, I hope, as I am preaching to the team is the Denver Nuggets is going to be out being a team. It has nothing to do about individuality and basically screw all the guys out there that think you gotta have a superstar to win a championship. I’m just not into the hype. I’m into some of the things we did when we went 18-7 and I can take anyone who wants to come into our film [room]. We can splice up the Oklahoma City game and for you and don’t put a scoreboard on it and you can tell me who won that series? It would be very difficult to chose if you take free throw misses out of the game and basically take the first 15 minutes of the game 2 out of the game. Everybody is in love with Oklahoma City. No one is in love with the Denver Nuggets. I guarantee you if you don’t put a scoreboard on the video you wouldn’t be able to pick who won the game. I’m excited because if Oklahoma City is the darlings of the NBA and we are not that far from them. I think Josh [Kroenke] and the organization has unity that the Nuggets haven’t had for 4 or 5 years. I think unity is felt by the players for the first time in two or three years.

Unfortunately for Karl, the scoreboard matters. In fact, it’s about the only thing in professional sports that matters. You can take people back to your lair and clip all the video you want to make it seem as though the Nuggets won that series, but the bottom line is we played horrible in the post-season last year for about the bazzilionth time in a row under your watch. And free throws are a huge part of the game, especially come playoff time! You can’t just take that out of the equation all together! That’s basically the equivalent of me taking a test, getting a D, then going back to the teacher and saying “If you just omit this question here, these essay questions there and the diagram part near then end, then I got an A!” Of course, Karl later goes on to praise the play of Ty Lawson and Andre Miller in training camp, which scares the collective crap out of Nuggets fans who despise the two-point guard lineup just as much as I do. Nevertheless it’s interesting hearing the coach chime in on perhaps the most lively debate in recent Nuggets’ memory.

About the only other newsworthy tidbit to report this morning is that Kenyon Martin might be released by his Chinese Basketball Association team, the Xinjiang Flying Tigers. Apparently the “Flying Tigers” aren’t off to the hottest start, therefore cutting its best player naturally would appear to be the remedy needed to right the ship. If Martin is released many believe it could open up the door for fellow Nuggets, J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler to be cut as well. If this is the case, it will be interesting to see what happens with Chandler. As has been discussed ad nauseam over the last six months, Smith and Martin are unrestricted free agents and therefore free to sign anywhere they please, although keep in mind, the Nuggets do retain their Bird Rights meaning they can re-sign in Denver for much more than they can on the free market. Chandler is restricted however, which gives the Nuggets the option to match any contract offer he receives from another team. The way I see it, trading Chandler is really the only option the Nuggets have. Yes, they can always keep him, but why do so when the Nuggets are already stacked at the small forward position? In addition, Chandler has by far the most trade value of any wing player on the Nuggets outside of Gallinari. Packaging him along with a few other players might get us that coveted first-round pick that every last Nugget fan on the face of the earth has been dreaming about lately. But remember, if we match an offer he receives from another team, he then can’t be traded for at least one year following that transaction. Because of this, a sign-and-trade seems to be the most likely scenario to play out.

Finally, Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post suggests the Nuggets use “Party Start-Party Stop” by The Big Shots as a fourth-quarter anthem this year when a Nuggets victory is seemingly in hand. If you recall, this was the same video I featured in a former Nugget News posted this past summer where Gallinari displays some God-awful dance moves to what can only be described as a God-awful song. To this request all I have to say is: No. Please no.

Also, if you haven’t yet read this story about Ty Lawson’s “goofiest teammate” in Lithuania, do so now.

Follow me on Twitter!!!

  • DenverNuggets4Lifee

    nice

  • Isaac

    Great post about Karl, if he tries going with the 2 PG look though, he should be let go at the end of the season. Assuming it leads to a Miller missed heave at the buzzer to get knocked out of the first round again.

  • Omar

    teams we should consider trading chandler to. of course they have some high picks, this upcoming draft.
    * sacramento kings
    * Detroit Pistons
    * Charlotte Bobcats
    * Milwaukee Bucks
    * Utah Jazz
    * Phoenix Suns
    * Houston Rockets
    * New Orleans
    * Atlanta Hawks

    I think atlanta and new orleans should be primary targets.

    • Tommy4daNuggz4ever

      Omar I fully agree that New Orleans is someone we should talk to about getting a First rounder from. But like the rest of the list looks good too.

  • Tommy4daNuggz4ever

    Does GK even listen to himself or does he talk I mean really? When in the hell did we win the games with out a scoreboard involved. But like always Kalen great article.

    And on the other article so one said you have no draft knowledge or something hahahaha if it weren’t for you I would have not even had any knowledge of the Nuggets news on the Draft and I would say you hit it right on the head. So keep the good work up and Jeremy and Charlie keep it up too.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

    Sadly, I missed Coach Karl on The Fan, thanks for the link Kalen! I agree with him that the OKC series was very close. Denver was 1-3 in games decided by four points or less because they did not have anyone who could be counted on to score at the end of games (the game they won by 3, Denver had a 10 point lead with 2 minutes left and Westbrook and KD got the lead down to 2). As Kalen pointed out the scoreboard matters and while Denver could handle their business for most of the series, they constantly came up short when it mattered most. The difference in the series was OKC had a the two best players in the series and they could both score down the stretch.

    Also, saying Denver does not need a superstar because they were just as good as OKC was last year does not give me much comfort. OKC did not win anything last season. Also, I think this season there will be a larger gap between the two as I expect the Thunder to take another step forward, largely due to their superstar player continuing to improve and gain experience and I also believe Denver is not as good now as they were at the end of last season.

    As far as Afflalo, I continue to preach patience, but I have a difficult time believing the two sides are so far apart a deal has not been reached by now. It is interesting that no numbers have been bandied about in the media. The fact that both sides are so tight lipped is as fascinating as it has been frustrating for fans. I continue to expect that a deal gets done before the season starts.

  • pgwarner

    Guys, I got a virus alert when trying to go to that Ty Lawson link you mentioned in the article.

    • Kalen

      You sure? That’s really weird because that’s just a Denver Post article. Maybe you got it from clicking on something else? I don’t know what to tell you. That’s weird.

  • jim

    right on as always. i’m drinking the nuggets kool-aid as much as anybody this year, and i love the excitement from the coach, but i definitely saw a different series with OKC than GK did. OKC took over huge parts of that series and completely outplayed and outcoached the nuggets.

  • Isaac

    Nuggets went 5-1 on Tuesdays at home last year. Can’t wait to see how GK divies up the minutes. Also, when exactly are we going to get Afflalo signed? I thought we could only have 15 on the roster when the season started? Wouldn’t we have to get him signed by the start of the season?

    • Ricardo

      I think the nuggets are going to sign Aaron Afflalo, but I feel like it’s 50/50 right now. If they do re-sign him, three players have to be waived from the current roster.

      • Ricardo

        The nuggets did sign Afflalo to a contract extension for five years, $43 million. I’m just wondering who they are going to waive.

  • magster

    I am a little bit with Karl on this one (just a little) AAA was injured and Nene couldn’t hit a free throw and was owned by Ibaka and Wilson Chandler sucked, and we still almost won a couple of those games we lost. I felt cheated by AAA’s injury last year.

  • DH

    Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post speculates that Marcus Thornton signing with the Kings for $33M over 4 years has caused a problem in the Afflalo negotiations. I can see why AAA would think he deserves something similar to what Thornton is getting. And I can see why the Nugs would have trouble shelling that out. Jeremy has been guessing that AAA will sign at $5M to $6M per year (if I remember correctly). I’ve always felt the market for him is more like $7M or $8M. I would be very surprised if we were able to get him for $6M or less. I guess we’ll see if the Nuggets are willing to overspend a little on two guys (Nene and AAA) that they consider to be cornerstones of their future.

    • Kalen

      You we’re right. Afflalo is getting paid $8.6 mil per year. I too thought anything below $6 was probably out of the question, although almost $9 per year seems a bit on the expensive side. I would have liked to see about $7.5, but hey, I’m not complaining. Glad to have AAA back.

  • dynamo.joe

    If you want a superstar, why trade for draft picks? Trade for Dwight Howard.

    In a month D12 will be tired of losing. Again. And he will tell Orlando’s management, “if you want to get something back you need to trade me, I will not re-sign with you.”

    We have the assets to godfather them (AAA or Gallo and Bird/Moz/Koufous/faried, pick 2, throw in 1st rounder if you have to) and not give a shit about whether he is willing to sign with Denver.

    Take your title shot. If it works, or even if you just come close, you say, “we can compete at this level for the next 5 years and were willing to give you a max contract, if you’d still rather leave, thanks for the run.”

    Worst case scenario is he bails and you probably are in the lottery just like half the people here want to be anyway, just a year later.

    Besides, is there anyone here who wouldn’t like to watch Howard/Nene absolutely destroy every other 4/5 in the league, even its only for 40-50 games + playoffs?

    • Aaron

      U Realy Wanna Give Up ALL Of Our Centers And 3 Up And Coming Players For D12 Who Probably Wont Sign With Denver????

  • DH

    Oh, and the prospect of the 2-point-guard lineup has scared the hell out of me since the minute we traded for Andre Miller. It was questionable with Ty and Chauncey and with Ty and Felton, but even that made much more sense than Ty and Andre. Chauncey is a quasi shooting guard and JR was never going to start, so it didn’t bother me too much. Felton is a good defender and was shooting well, I believe, before coming to Denver. I didn’t like it, but at least there was some rationale behind it. But Andre can’t shoot, doesn’t have a shooting guard bone in his body, isn’t the defender that Felton is, and isn’t as likely to look for Ty on the perimeter, in my opinion. Without Afflalo, and with Fernandez being perfect for JR’s sixth man role, I don’t care if George starts Ty and Andre together. But the second that Afflalo comes back, he should be the starter (of course) and Rudy should be his backup – period. I don’t ever want to see Ty and Andre together again (barring injury) after that.

  • jeff

    I believe that Gallo, Nene, and rudy/lawson will lead the scoring load this year. If Afflalo comes nack then you can add him in there but i don’t see him signing anytime soon if it hasn’t already happend.

    • Ricardo

      I think it’s a 50/50 chance right now, but he has to sign by the start of the season. Even if he doesn’t sign, the nuggets could start Fernandez and they may be looking to get a shooting guard in next year’s draft.

  • jeff

    Afflalo signed 5 years 43 million sources say

  • DH

    Nuggets just signed Afflalo for 5 years at $43M according to ESPN. That’s a little steep, but someone was going to pay him that much or more. So I think we had to do it. What does everyone else think?

    Anyway, now the Nuggets can concentrate on what to do with the team instead of who will be on it.

  • http://espn.com Chris

    Trading Chandler is dumbest thing I heard all day, getting rid of Corey Brewer would be best, with his ugly jump shot.

  • http://espn.com Chris

    Chandler is only 23

    • Kalen

      Trust me, I’d love to ship out Brewer for something in return, but he has no value. Chandler is 20-times better, just as young and plays good defense. He’s a hot commodity that teams will be willing to pay up for.

    • DH

      …and all indications are that Chandler really, really doesn’t want to return to Denver. If he did, though, I absolutely think we should keep him, unless we get an offer we can’t refuse. I don’t think we’re stacked at SF. I think it’s a weakness beyond Gallo. Everyone is either young and unproven or playing out of position at SF. And it’s especially hard to find young players like Chandler who can contribute on both ends of the floor.

  • http://www.chazkemp.com Chaz Kemp

    If Chandler does come back, our team becomes ridiculously deep and that could be a concern. Is Chandler still not wanting to come back? If we traded him, what do we get for him?

    Yay we have Afflalo again! I’m really excited now!!

    I agree with you guys that Lawson and Miller should NEVER be on the floor together… Maybe now that AAA is back GK will abandon that notion.

    Kalen – I agree with a lot of your article, but I think you may have missed GK’s point about the OKC playoff series: I believe that coach was merely pointing out that we had every chance to beat them. I believe that his main point is that OKC is not that much better than us and that with a full season of team basketball, the Nuggets can beat them in the playoffs without a superstar player.

    I agree with him. Team basketball is underrated but it’s been proven to work in the NBA. I know I’m going to catch a lot of flack for saying so, but I’m sticking with GK on this one. :)

    Let the debate begin, but before you guys chime in please let me say that I love this blog and all of the opinions posted here. Go Nuggets!!

    • DH

      No argument from me. I don’t agree with everything GK said, but I get the main point. We didn’t play as we were capable of playing in the OKC series. You can blame it on youth, inexperience in big games, players still being fairly unfamiliar with each other, some players flat-out underachieving (Felton, Chandler), Afflalo’s injury problems, or whatever. But we were a good team that could have played better. And if the losses (Kenyon, JR, Chandler) don’t outweigh the gains, we should be better this year – just by knowing each other and the team concepts better, and by being a year older. Most of all, I am with you on the concept that a deep, smart, unselfish, talented team can overcome a superstar or two. This team will be good this year and really good in a couple of years if we stay on this path.

  • http://espn.com Chris

    Affalo is ok, he lacks true explosiveness for a two guard which the nuggets still haven’t found yet, but he’ll do for now.

    • Ricardo

      Hopefully, Fernandez is the guy with that explosiveness.

  • http://espn.com Chris

    Kalen do u see Kenyon coming back, because one thing he can do is guard Dirk very well.

  • http://espn.com Chris

    We should have waited for James Hareden this summer

    • http://www.chazkemp.com Chaz Kemp

      It would be great to get him but OKC would be absolutely nuts to let that guy go.

  • Desean

    I don’t know why one playoff series has everyone sold on gallo over chandler. Chandler has a much higher ceiling and might demand a lower contract than gallo who is a fa this summer . Just think chandler was better than gallo in ny and we should consider him for our starting sf just as much as gallo If not more.

    I think that it isn’t so much he doesn’t want to be in Denver than he doesn’t want to come off the bench behind gallo

    • Kalen

      Agreed. I’ve said many times before that I’m not sold on Gallo yet either.

  • http://espn.com Chris

    well they dont have the cap space to keep Harden.

  • Ricardo

    The nuggets needs to trade Chandler for a first-round draft pick when he comes back.