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.