3-on-3: Arron Afflalo’s Shiny New Contract

Nuggets fans the world over are rejoicing in the new 5 year, $43 million contract Arron Afflalo has agreed to with the Nuggets.  Now that Afflalo has been retained the Nuggets have fulfilled their vision of re-siging Nene and Afflalo and once again have a tremendously deep team to put on the floor.  With the team now in place and Afflalo’s contract ready to go let’s do a little 3-on-3 to see if Denver has spent wisely, or if they will end up back in the financial doghouse.

1. What terms did you expect Arron Afflalo to re-sign for?

Jeremy: Most of you know I expected Afflalo to sign for a deal just over MLE money.  Five years starting at $6 million.  Sure there were several teams interested in him, but none of them had the money or gumption to make an offer.  Because of that Denver had no reason to up the price any more than that.  The only leverage Afflalo had was to threaten to sign the qualifying offer thus making him an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season at which point Denver could have still offered him more years and more money than anyone else.

Charlie: I thought Al Harrington’s contract would have been perfect for Afflalo. Last season the deadline to extend the 2007 rookie class was in November, right in the thick of the Carmelo soap opera. I was pining for the Nuggets to sign Afflalo to an extension similar to the 5-year, $21 million contract Jared Dudley signed just before that deadline. There’s no doubt as an established starter Afflalo would have commanded more, but by how much? Certainly not over double that which is what the Nuggets just shelled out. Afflalo is the most important player on this team and one the Nuggets could not afford to lose. There are not many players I like more than him from a basketball standpoint, but this is a professional business and business-wise I do not like this deal at all. Keeping Afflalo should have never come to this point, and he would have been locked up and paid perfectly if Denver had the foresight to extend him when he deserved it.

Kalen: There was no doubt in my mind Denver would end up overpaying for Afflalo. This was either going to happen by virtue of matching someone else’s offer, or Afflalo simply realizing how much he could fetch on the open market then basically demanding more. I’ll admit however that I was a little surprised Denver ended up paying close to $9 million per year for him. I thought tings would settle right around $7 million, but the reality is that an extra $1.6 million per year isn’t going to make or break Denver. Remember, Kenyon Martin was getting paid twice this amount for many years with the Nuggets.

2. In year five, who’s contract looks worse – Arron Afflalo or Nene?

Jeremy: In my mind the horror is the two deals combined will pay Denver’s two prize free agents a combined $25 million dollars five seasons from now.  Sure the cap will hopefully be $70 million by then, but that is a huge chunk of change for two players, neither of which are a franchise type player who you can count on to carry the load.  If I have to pick one or the other, I think the choice is Nene as he will be 33 and making 50% more ($15 million to just under $10 million).  Hopefully, he will still be a solid contributor, but the worst case scenario for Nene’s deal is much worse than Afflalo’s.  One other aspect to keep in mind with Arron is I think he has pretty much reached his ceiling as a player, but he has always come into the year better than the season before and he I trust he will continue to do that although the improvements will be more incremental.

Charlie: I’m positive neither of these deals will become a Kenyon Martin level of albatross. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that Afflalo must produce like a top five shooting guard to avoid putting Denver in a bad position down the road. Skilled big men of Nene’s caliber are perhaps the NBA’s rarest commodity while three-point shooting and defense are abundant. I am the biggest believer in Afflalo there is, but for this contract to make sense Afflalo cannot just be the emotional leader and glue guy. He’ll have to produce at a near-elite consistently and that means taking a giant leap forward from his complimentary role. I just don’t know what to expect under those circumstances.

Kalen: I think Afflalo’s. The reality is big men are always going to be overpaid and considering the weak free agent class, Denvere actually landed Nene for a pretty decent price. Yes, he’ll be older and more susceptible to injuries near the end of his contract but he’ll still be in his mid-30s which isn’t that bad. Meanwhile, although Afflalo will be younger, I have a feeling Nuggets fans are going to be extremely disappointed with just how mediocre his ceiling is. I don’t mean that in a bad way, because Afflalo will undoubtedly continue to improve, I just think now that he’s cashed in Nuggets fans are going to expect way more than he’s capable of providing.

3. Afflalo’s contract is a good deal, a bad deal or a necessary deal?

Jeremy: It is a bad deal.  Of course Afflalo is a very good player.  He brings constant energy and provides leadership.  He made a couple of big shots last season, although it bears mentioning they were preceded by a run of unclutchness.  I believe he is a borderline lock down defender, but the numbers from last season disagree.  He is a very efficient scorer, but he can accomplish that largely because he is not relied on to carry the offense.  The Nuggets Brain Trust has done a great job of not blinking when they are being stared down, but with this deal they blinked.  As I mentioned above, the only leverage Afflalo had was to sign his qualifying offer, which was for $2.9 million after which Denver can still give him more money than anyone else.  I would have liked to see the Nuggets call his bluff.  By my calculations his deal starts at roughly $7.475 million.  What would he had done if offered a $34.5 million offer, starting salary of $6.0 million, and see if he actually would walk away from that and embrace the risk of signing the QO.  For a team like the Nuggets who will probably never again dip into the luxury tax, every dollar counts.  If Denver is determined to go to war with this current group at these prices they are going to be paying Gallinari, Lawson and maybe even Wilson Chandler roughly the same money.

Charlie: It’s necessary. With Nene’s signing, Denver put a large bet on becoming championship caliber in the next few years. In terms of winning and trying to build on the defensive focus the Nuggets have tried to adopt, Afflalo is more important than Nene. I’ve written this multiple times but last year was a difficult time for Nuggets faithful, and losing Afflalo would be a huge punch in the gut to anyone who has stuck by the team and cared about the franchise in the last couple of years. In fact, I’d have to call it an insult if the front office tried to sell the fans on building a contender without bringing back Arron Afflalo.

Kalen: It’s definitely neither a good or bad deal, so I’ll have to go with “necessary.” Look, were the Nuggets really going to let Afflalo walk just because they didn’t want to pay a few extra million per year to keep him here? That would have been bogus. Afflalo is as important to this team as anyone, especially with former floor generals like Kenyon Martin and Chauncey Billups out of the equation. Afflalo completes this team now that Denver has Nene back. He was the final piece to the puzzle, and one they simply could not move forward without. Would I have liked to sing him at a cheaper price? Absolutely. But people have to realize the NBA is a league teeming with awful contracts. Overpaying for a rare commodity like Afflalo who’s young, improving, dedicated, focused and actually wants to be in Denver isn’t high on my list of “Things to Complain About.”

Alright RMC readers, you guys have been leaving some great comments lately, keep it going with your responses to our Afflalo 3-on-3!

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  • Erlingur Gretar

    I’m not hung up on his price at all. He’ll be getting $10mil at age 31, hopefully reaching his peak just around then. As the solid competitor he is, I have no worries that he’ll magically start sucking all of a sudden now. Of course, they could conceivably have got him for $6-7mil per year, but they could just as well have had to deal with a situation where somebody would have offered him $10-11mil and they’d have to either match that and lock up even more cash for him, or not match and lose a fine player to the competition. And we can be sure that he’ll work for his money, unlike some others we’ve had in Denver…

  • jeff

    Great article, so would you guys agree with this lineup
    PG- lawson/miller
    SG- Afflalo/ fernandez
    SF- gallo/brewer
    PF- nene/ harrington/faried
    C-mozgoz/birdman/koufos……… or it could be vise versa

    • Charlie

      I’m not sure how the rotation should look till we see them on the court. I am not sold on Nene being a full time PF and Mozgov being a quality starter. I do think Miller, Fernandez and Birdman will be the first players off the bench.

      Faried is probably the second best big on the team but I have little faith the Nuggets develop him properly and give him a consistent role. Harrington will get the bulk of the bench minutes. Faried may have to end up fighting for scraps along with Brewer, Koufos and Stone.

      When we see a few preseason games it should be easier to judge where each of the players are at. Mozgov needs to be a lot more active and assertive to have the kind of impact everyone seems to be expecting out of him right now.

  • Dan

    I am disappointed that the Nuggets have made such a huge commitment to Afflalo. I just don’t see him as a big producer for the Nuggets. I think he’s just a guy that Coach Karl likes a lot. If he really is the “competitor” that people think he is, he needs to knock down the big shots, lock down on defense, and post stellar numbers as a shooting guard. This is a disappointing acquisition. Afflalo didn’t get offers from other teams, because he’s not worth it. He just doesn’t produce.

    • Justin

      I know his offense has not been super consistent or stellar, but it keeps improving each year, and have you forgotten why he’s so important to this team? We face the Lakers in the playoffs every year, and who’s the one person on this team that can nearly shut down Kobe Bryant every time he plays him? Those games by themselves are enough to warrant his new contract! His UCLA defense is second-to-none! Didn’t we already try the high powered offense with Carmelo? And we got beat in the playoffs because of it!

    • Foco_Swag

      Not sure how you can make that statement. Once Melo left, Afflalo undeniably became our go to guy. Before his hamstring, he was the player the Nuggets looked to for if we needed a game winner. Defensively, I would challenge you to find ten better SG’s. There aren’t stats for it, but I believe Afflalo’s leadership also adds some $ to the contract and rightly so. Afflalo makes his teammates better, if he holds them to a higher standard in practice and games, and help develop a culture of max effort – which Denver was missing for several years – then his contract doesn’t hurt the Nuggs much at all.

      • Peter

        1) Wade
        2) Kobe
        3) Manu Ginoblo
        4) Eric Gordon
        5) Ray Allen
        6) Monta Ellis
        7) Jason Richardson
        8) Kevin Martin
        9) Stephen Jackson
        10)Tyreke Evans(not a point guard)
        11)O.J. Mayo
        12)Paul George(I know he grew 2 inches, but Granger plays the 3 there and he’s NOT a power Forward.
        Vince Carter is still better to, but I would take AA going forward. Sorry AA is not a top 10 SG, barely top 15 if you ask me.

  • popex_17

    First of all, I am really happy to have AAA back with the Nuggets. However, after all the contracts what were signed during these past days (M. Thornton and R. Stuckey), I was sure that AAA’s representatives were seeking a similar contract and it turned out to be true.
    I completely agree with Charlie: he should have been signed last year, when probably a 5-6 million/year contract would have done the trick, but that would have not been fair to him.
    If you think of him as the player he is (average offensive player, well-above average defensive player, quiet leadership skills, can be clutch, but it’s not something proven yet) he deserves more than the average salary, thus I think he is just slightly overpaid. I think a 35$/5 year deal was about fair for both sides.
    However, if the deal is front-loaded, then it’s perfectly fine with me. Remember, next summer Gallo and Rudy Fernandez are in the same situation as AAA was this year and in 2 years it’s Lawson time to get paid.

  • Aurress20

    I wouldn’t complain much about Nene & AAA’s contracts having huge final years. Who’s to say that they aren’t moved/traded by that time? If big men are such a commodity, then we can trade Nene with a couple years left on his contract. Its a business and that’s the way the cookie typically crumbles for big men late in their careers. Some team will take him & think they can either revive his career or utilize him as a serviceable bench player.

    Afflalo may be a little more difficult to unload via trade if he doesn’t reach his max potential. But he will be a bit younger (compared to Nene) when he hits the 4th & 5th yr of his contract, making a trade a little easier. I could see him ending up like Posey, having 1 to 2 more solid years before just dropping off. A championship contender will definitely take a shot on a 30 yr old SG as well rounded as AAA will be at 30.

    For the present time, this roster is looking very competitive & it seems that we won’t be missing JR or K-Mart very much thru out the winter (but thanks for the memories guys!).

    Unfortunately, I think we’ll miss Wilson Chandler. We can only hope to lock him up with a contract once he frees up in March (even though some have rumored that he doesn’t want to be in Denver). I just don’t believe Gallo will be consistent enough this year, although improved from last year. Don’t get me wrong, I love Gallo, but I think we’ll pine for a solid bench swing man contributor at SF, like Chandler was for us after the trade (not so much in the playoffs though).

    Well thats my 2 cents. Thanks again for another great blog post guys! Keep it up! Go Nuggets!

  • chronicnugs

    this was a necessary signing. we needed AAA, we were going to have to slightly overpay like the rest of the mid market teams, he actually wants to be here, and there is zero chance he will meltdown or go on a nacho cheese dorito binge.

    he ain’t dwade or kobe, but we aint LA or miami and 2 guard is lean these days. between Nene and Arron we overpaid by probably 4 million. thats not a back breaking sum.

    • gk4prez

      I agree with Chronic. I see where several people have said that by year 5 the deals will be terrible. But, according to storytellers.com, Nene’s deal was front loaded, which means in year 5 it will 11 million and not the 15 that many seem to think it will be. I am not sure if this info is accurate or not, but if it is, then it really isn’t as bad of a deal as many think.

      It would be nice if the Nuggets did something similar with Afflalo, at the end it would be around 7 million if it was done this way.

  • Jason

    I typically have enjoyed Jeremy’s commentary, but his downright negativity towards All Things Nuggets recently has made me rethink his sanity.

    I know Jeremy is stuck on the superstar model to win, but it obviously did not work here for years with Melo. And…how many other teams tried to stink for years in hopes of getting that franchise player only to have him turn out to be a Rudy Gay or Danny Granger type, someone good but not quite good enough. The whole tank to improve theory is bogus.

    But I digress…anyone who feels this was a bad signing is looking at this through jaded eyes. It was downright necessary for Denver to resign Afflalo. Yes, maybe he was slightly overpaid, but our bloggers here (other than Kalen) are acting like the difference between a starting salary of 6mil is a huge difference vs. a starting salary of 7.5 mil or 34mil for 5 years vs. 43mil in 5 years. It might have been a slight overpay, but not attrocious. It certainly will NOT handicap this team financially. Players of his mold are always valuable (think of Shane Battier), and even if down the road Denver felt they were not getting enough bang for the buck, they could easily trade him. His contract is not an albatross.

    But AAA’s impact to this team and the game in general are being undervalued, typical to what people do with Nene also. AAA is a tremendous asset for this team, and the bottom line is you don’t let players like that go.

    Jeremy’s theory that AAA’s only leverage was the QO is being downplayed. That is HUGE leverage!!! Many many many teams wanted AAA but no one offered him a contract because he was restricted. You put that guy in as an UFA next season, and he is snatched up with easily the same contract Denver offered if not higher, and we lose him for nothing. Plus, you are downplaying the fact that AAA might just keep improving, making his contract even larger next off-season.

    I know we all just have opinions, but I just don’t get the negativity toward this signing or the direction of the team. Masai has done an amazing job and this team has every chance to be better than any of the Melo-led teams.

    • DJ

      I love to “hear” different opinions on teams I follow…but this site is more negative than ESPN. Amazing how the national talking heads and ESPN have more faith in this team than this site does. Time to go back to the LEADING Denver Nuggets Blog….DS

      • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

        DJ, I have picked Denver to win the equivalent of 50 games and fight for home court in the playoffs, so to say I do not believe in this team is inaccurate. I just fail to see how they become a championship team based on their current course of action. I do not anyone who is projecting that as a possibility either. In all the angst over my negativity I have yet to see anyone claim Denver is building a championship caliber roster by following their current course of action.

        Also, Denver Stiffs is a great blog and I highly recommend every Nuggets fans reads it, but I believe RMC is a great Nuggets blog too and I trust there is time for both of us in your life!

        • ParkHillNative

          Well, Jeremy, if everybody’s jumping on you for being too negative in your assessment, let me chime in here to say that I appreciate the way you always give it to us straight, the way you see it.

          I spend a fair amount of time at Denver Stiffs too, but sometimes the optimism there gets to be too much for me, and I like being able to come here for some realism. To me, nothing’s worse than getting my expectations built up too high and then being disappointed.

          And for the record, before the playoffs started last season, I predicted the Nugs would lose to the Thunder in 5 games.

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      As I was writing my critique last night, I realized I was becoming the crotchety old man and would get responses like this. I am sorry if you want to just read positive happy thoughts, but I have always been objective in my assessment of the Nuggets.

      I made a big deal over the extra $2 million a year to Afflalo not because that money alone will break Denver financially, but if you start giving Afflalo a little extra and then Gallo gets a little more and Chandler does and then Lawson gets some more. You are now locked into a team where those are the key guys and there is no money left to build around them.

      Remember after the Nuggets were in the conference finals and they really were one big man short at having a good shot at winning a title and the decision was made that it would cost too much to bring in another player. After having financial flexibility for the first time in years,

      Denver is risking running into a wall again not on two or three huge contracts, but five or six above average ones.

      I do not see how this team can become a championship team and that is all I care about. Making the playoffs is meaningless to me. I will enjoy watching Denver play good team ball and win games, but ultimately the season will be a disappointment.

      I promise this is the last time I will mention rebuilding, but of course it might not work. Maybe Denver gets another Carmelo Anthony, or worse, I just prefer to attempt to make a run at building a team that can do more despite the risks. As I value empty playoff experiences less than others I do not see that Denver is really risking anything by rebuilding. Others disagree and I respect that.

      Look, I would love to be wrong and if I am I cannot wait to have everyone come on here and tell me what a moron I am. Bot for now, please trust me that I am not just being negative for the sake of being negative. I am not just trying to stir up controversy. I am giving you all my honest assessments and I hope you can all appreciate that.

      • Jason

        Jeremy, I respect that reply. And I want to quantify that I don’t believe you are being negative just for the sake of being negative. I guess I am just shocked by your pessimism. I for one, would not stop reading this fine blog just because your opinion doesn’t agree with mine. That would make me incredibly narrow-minded. But I have been shocked that you are negative about the direction this team is taking.

        After years of tanking for a good enough draft pick to build around, which took numerous tries, we finally landed Melo. But did Melo take us to the promised land? No, in fact I don’t think he ever would have. He is not a franchise guy IMO. And so then that led to years and years of 1st round exits, what you point to as your very concern with this squad. And I agree, that has to be a concern. The goal should be to win a championship, not just be a playoff team.

        But to me, I think this team is BETTER than the Melo teams. I guess time will prove that. But I think a new model was needed. For one, being a “small” market team, superstars are not going to choose to be here, and if we draft talent, they may choose to leave (just like Melo) for the brighter lights. So I am a firm believer that this team needs to model itself more around the Detroit Pistons championship team than the Lakers and Heats of the world.

        I believe in this model. We have a solid, VERY solid group of talented players that if they play together and progress we can be a championship team. Plus, we have several guys on our team already that can become that “go to” guy in crunch time, the very reason that most believe is the reason you need a superstar. I truly think Gallinari can be a go to guy, AAA has the ability to hit that shot. Ty Lawson can still become an All-Star IMO. Rudy has hit HUGE shots in International play. I believe, unlike any other sport, that TEAM play is vital in Basketball. And I think you can WIN with that model.

        So I think the reason for optimism is…to give this model a shot. The other one failed here in Denver, and you can point to very legit reasons why, but you can also say that model would be very hard to ever achieve here.

        Plus, I am a firm believer that you don’t get rid of talented players just to try to draft talented players. We did not severely overpay for Nene or AAA, and both guys could be traded down the road if necessary. We don’t know what the future holds, but this team is very deep, very talented, and very capable of an upset.

        Keep on keeping on though Jeremy.

        • ParkHillNative

          Good points, Jason. I do agree with a lot of what you’re saying here, especially the part about landing Carmelo in the draft only to see him disappoint, and then leave for a more lucrative market. Yup, that one didn’t work out.

          But to me, that just shows what a big problem the NBA has in general. Teams in markets like Denver are pretty much screwed, unless they win the draft lottery when Tim Duncan is available. That guy turned out to be one of the most dominating players in the league for 10 years, and was humble and had a good attitude about playing in a place like San Antonio. Sure, the Spurs have also been a smarter organization than the Nugs over the years, but I firmly believe that if they hadn’t had the stupid dumb luck to land Duncan, their trophy case would still be equally as bare as the Nuggets’.

          In all my years following the NBA (over 20 now), I’ve only seen one guy like Duncan come along. Too bad the Nugs didn’t land him. They were in the lottery that year too, but had finished the season with one more win than the Spurs.

          Unless the NBA suddenly decides to make a lot of major changes and embrace parity the same way the NFL does, I’m afraid the Nuggets’ only hope for a championship is to someday win the draft lottery when another Tim Duncan comes along. A dominating player who doesn’t mind playing his career in a small, unglamorous market.

      • ParkHillNative

        I also want to chime in with a “thank you” for this comment, Jeremy. Simply making the playoffs, and then losing, is meaningless for me too. It was fun the first couple of years after Carmelo came to town, just because it had been so long since they’d made the playoffs at all. But yeah, by now, I can’t believe everybody isn’t sick of all these first round exits. When more than half the teams in the league go to the playoffs every year, losing in the first round pretty much becomes the definition of mediocrity.

      • John

        Jeremy, just change you gif to one of Eeyore, and all will be forgiven. :-) Just kidding, please don’t ban me!

      • KW

        Jeremy,

        I consider RBMC THE Nuggets blog and Denver Stiffs more of a collection of fans. I love them both.

        I think I was the guy who prompted you to turn on comments about a year ago…cause I had comments and questions. I’m proud to see tons and tons of comments from other readers.

        I think you’re being consistent with RMBC credo ‘We’ll move the earth for a title’ when you lament anything but a full rebuild process and I respect that. I’m not certain I agree as the future is unknown (DARKO) and I’m not completely sure Masai is immune to a bad pick.

        Great blog. I am certainly more excited for this season than I was last season. Thanks.

  • Haig

    Kwame Brown got $7M from GS. It’s all relative.

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      It bears mentioning it was a one year deal.

  • Brad H.

    George wanted these guys back badly knowing that his TEAM would suffer without them. George’s opinion matters to Masai a great deal. To lose either Nene or Aaron right now would most certainly mean, and George was extremely vocal about this point, a grueling season of truly REBUILDING. The correct path to WINNING NOW was to get both of these guys back. Nice job, Masai . . . And congrats to George and All Nuggets fans who want to win this season and take our chances in the playoffs.

  • Isaac

    If we pay our 5 starters a little extra then it will not be a terrible investment as they are all starting caliber players. They may not all be all stars but they would still be worth the extra $1.5 million each.

  • Aaron

    Jeremy, you were here in 2002-03, right? The Juwan Howard all-stars? I can’t believe anyone would want to see a team like that again, with any end game in mind.

    It’s not that all of us are in favor of continual first round flame-outs, and don’t care about a championship, . . .You seem to downplay some of the horrible matchups that GK’s teams have had over the years. We’d have been out of the first round a few times with different matchups ( 2 different options last year would have had us advancing).

    Continual negativity is not “balanced” anymore than continual positivity. We have the deepest team in the league, which will be huge in the compact schedule. We are not over the cap. We will not be over the cap. .and we can amnesty Al, or even Nene in a few years if he has an injury or something. And, if the guys in China come home. . would wouldn’t take Kmart and WC for a first round draft pick? We have depth, we have youth, we have experience (Amiller, Nene, afflalo). . I”m not sure what you want. I don’t see what you would have Masai and Josh do differently beyond running a d-league team out there to perhaps get another draft stud for 4 years.

    See, what isn’t being discussed, is at this rate, we’ll have a “team” to offer a star who would like a championship shot. Much like the recent Chris Paul saga, the LAC have youth and depth which were attractive to him. I know Dwight Howard doesn’t like cold climates, but what does that say about his championship priorities? Let’s be patient and celebrate the amazing roster we currently have. We have the pieces to win now, and we have the pieces to make someone a Godfather offer for a superstar, should we want to do that in a few years.

    • Jason

      Aaron, great write up. This pretty much sums up my response to Jeremy above, and the reason why I feel very optimistic.

      Masai and Josh played the hand they HAD to play. You cannot lose talent for nothing. Both Nene and AAA could be traded, they are valuable assets. So even if they don’t work out, you could still get something for them in the future. But I firmly believe that those are two HUGE building blocks for this team. They may not be the cornerstone, but maybe Gallinari is? Or Ty? Or maybe, as you mention, we get a superstar in here that see’s the potential of this team and wants to WIN. I believe in building a winning culture vs. purposely tanking for the unknown.

      Besides, what was the other play? I guess Masai could have let both AAA and Nene walk, not made the trade for Rudy and Brewer and just marched out Miller, Ty, Gallo, Faried, and Moz. Problem is, that team still probably would have been fighting for a playoff seed and we probably only would have received a pick around 10-14. No guarantees there.

      Masai is building the foundation, and is doing a darn good job of it.

  • Aaron

    If my last paragraph was confusing. . .I’m basically talking about the NYK model in acquiring Carmelo. Now, they gave up too much for him to be sure, . .they didn’t have anyone left. But, we have more depth than even they did last year. Yes, it is a long shot that a star would want to come to Denver, . . but we have the pieces, and we don’t have to watch a losing team in the meantime. . but one that can advance in the playoffs.

  • fats

    storytellercontracts say the Nene contract is front-loaded. Hopefully they’re right and the Afflalo contract is the same:

    http://www.storytellerscontracts.info/resources/Denver.htm

    • Ernie

      Awesome find Mr fats. And just what the team needed since they were so far below the Cap this season.

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      I think Charlie, Kalen and I all advocated for front loaded deals for Nene and Afflalo in the past and if that is indeed accurate then that changes my view of both contracts drastically.

      I assumed the team chose not to front load either deal as there was nothing reported about it. You know what happens when I assume…

      • Ernie

        Fantastic. I know we have discussed this front loading in the past, but it just makes too much sense for a team that was way below the cap this year. I hope the structure all future deals like this, especially since the players benefit from the time value of money aspect.

        • magster

          There’s no reason a player would object to a front-loaded contract either is there?

          • Ernie

            Only one I can think of is if the player is young and bad with money and so the agent wants salaries to increase to give them time to mature. But no, a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. Always.

          • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

            There used to be a stipulation that a player’s next contract could max out at a certain percentage of the cap or a certain percentage raise over his last salary, whichever was lower. That prompted players to avoid low salaries in the last year of a contract. I am not sure if that is still the case, but even if Afflalo is “only” making $7 million in the last year of this contract, it will not limit his future earnings.

    • Ernie

      In the notes section for Al Harrington it says “2013-14 and 2014-15 are only 50% guaranteed”. Any idea what that means? If they just cut him they take the salary cap hit but only owe half the money? I’ve never seen a half guaranteed contract.

      • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

        Partially guaranteed contracts are actually pretty common. Billups had $4 million of his $14.2 million guaranteed for this season, and Antonio McDyess had a half guaranteed contract. Basically the team can buy the player out for the guaranteed amount and whatever the guaranteed amount is counts towards the cap and the luxury tax.

        Some have asked about amnestying Harrington and I do not expect Denver to do so unless it will really allow them to do something big. the Nuggets are not in a financial position to pay a player over $7 million not to play, ever if it does not count towards the cap. I think the most likely outcome is Harrington is bought out after 2012-13 or traded to a team who would buy him out.

        • Ernie

          Interesting. Thanks for the reply. Sure makes you wonder why the Knicks “amnestied” Billips when they could have paid $4M to get out of his contract. Now they are paying $12M to have him play for the Clippers.

          • Jason

            Because by using the amnesty, none of Billups contract counted towards the cap #, making it possible for NY to sign Tyson Chandler. If they had cut him, they still would have to pay him the guaranteed amount, and that amount would count towards the salary cap. Plus, I believe NY had already missed the deadline for that option. I think you must cut a player by June 30th or something like that otherwise his salary becomes guaranteed.

        • gk4prez

          Dalembert just signed a similar deal with the Rockets, it is a 2 year deal worth 14 million with a team option in the second year and if they don’t pick up the option, it has a 1.5 million kicker essentially making it a one year 8.5 million deal.

  • Ernie

    I understand Jeremy and Charlie are disappointed with the direction of the team and the price paid for Afflalo. I just hope they will maintain their enthusiasm for the team once the games start next week. There is a tendency to root against things once you have stated a preferred direction that was ignored so you can be proven right. We want the same objectivity and sound analysis you guys offer, but if the Nuggets have success similar to the 18-7 post-Melo run last year let us come to RBMC to enjoy it.

    As for Afflalo, what I like is the team says if you develop and work hard here in Denver you will be valued and get paid. AAA has gotten better each year and it seems obvious this is the result of hard work since his skill set keeps expanding and improving. It is an implied statement from management to Faried or Hamilton or whoever that there is a payoff in Denver to working hard to get better. Maybe the $2M per year overpayment will be a factor but I would rather it go to AAA than to head cases like K-Mart and JR.

  • http://www.chazkemp.com Chaz Kemp

    I absolutely agree with Ernie. (and most of the posts here) If anyone deserves a little extra, it’s Afflalo – he’s absolutely the model for what GK is trying to build here, and that’s he’s an extremely hard-working TEAM player.

    In answer to a few of the more pessimistic opinions posted here… I believe that you are overlooking the possibility that AAA, TY, Moz, Gallo, Koufas and Fernandez will improve this season. If even a couple of them improve, then Denver is immediately catapulted into the talks of being a deep playoff team.

    Personally, I’m incredibly excited about this team. I believe that we can absolutely show the NBA that the concept of a very good TEAM is the new model and absolutely the way to go.

  • jeff

    Fernandez is going to be a great 6th man, from what i saw at the scrimmage whew better than jr

  • magster

    We still have our amnesty reserved too for Bird or Harrington, as far as future cap space goes. How much time is left on their contracts?

    • http://roundballminingcompany.com Kalen

      Including this year Birdman has three years left at about $4.5 million per. Harrington on the other hand has four years left (including this one) in the high sixes per year, but as has been mentioned above his contract is only partially guaranteed.

  • magster

    I should say that I am optimistic (unusual for me) about this season. I just loved the post-Melo Nuggets last season and want to set the conventional wisdom of what it takes to win in the NBA on its head.

    How cool would it be to make a run at the superbowl with a running QB and then have a shot at the NBA ring without a superstar? Not gonna happen, I know, but I am really excited about sitting on my arse watching Denver sports for the next couple of months.

  • dynamo.joe

    What are the chances of being able to transplant AAA’s brain into JR’s body?

    Somebody get to work on that!

    • Jason

      Ya, the ultimate player. Move aside Kobe

  • Ray

    I think Jeremy vastly underrates just how improbable it is to build a championship caliber team for a small market.

    First of all you have to suck, that’s the easy part. Then you have to get VERY lucky in the draft to find that one player/draft who transcends. You can go through YEARS before this happens, and when it does, you have approximately 4 years to build a team around them! That means you have to get lucky AGAIN in the draft.

    Denver is a MASSIVE underdog to run into a situation like OKC–just look at all that had to go right for them to get where they are at, which is a fringe contender.

    – They had to get (un)lucky to not draft oden.
    – They had to get lucky to draft Westbrook
    – They had to get lucky to draft Ibaka/Harden
    – They had to find a superstar who wants to stay!

    How often does that happen? Very very rarely. The Spurs? Talk about getting lucky AND drafting well.

    Are the Nuggets contenders? Probably not, but they are set up much better than any of these teams with draft picks. Just look at what they have to work with–a team that crushed at the end of last season, enormous depth, draft picks, and 12 million dollar trade exception.

    In my opinion, the best way for a small market team to build a contender is to shrewdly assemble a team of fringe all-stars, and then get lucky. At worst you’ll be a perennial playoff team, and if your good with the cap, you’ll always have players who aren’t easy to move.

    Nene’s contract will not hurt them. He’s SUPER movable right now, and will continue to be while he’s at his peak. When he starts to decline, that’ll make a nice expiring. The same is true for Afflalo.

    • Bryan

      Well said. Plus, Afflalo is only 25 (I think). I’m not sure why so many people think a guy with a reputation for being a gym rat, who improved dramatically from his first season (as a nugget) to the second has somehow reached or is very near his ceiling. People were saying he was an offensive liability after his first year and he added a lot to his game.

      This is an excellent year for the Nuggets because they are so deep, have the altitude, and there will be back to back to back games. Home court advantage should be a major advantage for the Nuggets this year.

      Personally, I’m more excited for this season than I was for the season after the Nuggets went to the WCF.

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      Ray, I have never downplayed any of those factors. In fact I have written about how lucky any team not called the Lakers has to be before.

      http://www.roundballminingcompany.com/2010/08/09/does-luck-run-the-nba/

  • CCH

    From what I’ve gathered AAA’s contract in is more in the 36-37 million range before hard to reach bonuses. I think when the fog raises everyone will be thrilled with this contract and what we receive in return.

  • DJ

    Post trade…while inconsistent and injured, and only very few games to base the data on….games that AAA could finish (ie. not injured)

    AAA averaged 14.6 PPG in regular season, 13.5 if you include playoffs.

    As a developing player, is it unrealistic for AAA to bump that production to 15-17 ppg? To go with 4-5 rebounds (averages 4 already) and 3 assist (at 2.4 last year)?

    Go look who averages those similiar numbers….JRich, JET Terry, Ray Allen. All who get/got paid 10 million plus a year. With Hollinger reporting that guaranteed is only 37 million and the incentives are highly unlikely, we got a player at 7.5 producing the same as 10-13 million players….yet ours is younger, more upside (even as marginal as it is), and GREAT D and GREAT LEADER.

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      DJ, I have no doubt that Afflalo can up his per game scoring average, but can he do so in an efficient manner? If he is tasked with creating his own shot, you will see his shooting percentage drop precipitously. His best asset offensively is his efficiency.

  • bill

    Great posts,

    What I worry about the most is GK and player development (or lack thereof). Maybe I am just a negative person, but I am extremely worried about Faried and Hamilton’s development under GK. I know GK is a good coach, but I think he is not very good at developing young players. JR Smith and Nene never reached their potential in my opinion. I would even argue that Melo never did either. On the other hand Lawson has developed nicely. But with this team’s depth, I highly doubt that Faried and Hamilton will get a fair shot. I am also not sold on Mozgov either. I think Karl will go to the Nene/Harrington with Bird off the bench front court.

  • diego

    You team is pretty good, but your local announcer is the biggest dumbshit in the world, why not front the money and get somebody with a bit of class.

    • Peter

      Haha, yeah man Chris Marlowe is terrible and Scott H-HHHHHasting is about as annoying as they get. Drew Goodman was a little better, but now he does the Rockies games. I wish Dave Logan would be our play by play guy, but he’s way more into football.

  • jeff

    Thats the radio announcer

  • Andrew

    Looks like the Nuggets worked the Suns pretty good tonight, with practically everyone playing well. Moz needs to do better than 1-5 from the free throw line, but otherwise, it seemed he played ok at starting Center for 21 minutes.