Breaking [UPDATED]: Danilo Gallinari, Kosta Koufos agree on extensions with Nuggets

According to Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post, the Denver Nuggets have agreed on a four-year, $42 million dollar extension with Danilo Gallinari as well as a three-year $9 million dollar extension with Kosta Koufos. It had been made public that the Nuggets wanted to re-sign Gallinari before Wednesday’s deadline to extend restricted free agents passed and it appears they have achieved this goal. This now ensures the Nuggets will have Arron Afflalo, Nene and Gallinari locked down for the foreseeable future. Next in line would seemingly be Ty Lawson although because he doesn’t become a restricted free agent until after the 2012-13 NBA season concludes, the Nuggets have time to work with him.

As for Koufos, this move is quite the surprise. It’s not often that third-string players get multi-year extensions, however after this signing it’s clear the Nuggets front office has the utmost amount of confidence in Koufos and his role on the team moving forward. Now if only George Karl shared this same amount of confidence in the young center and actually gave him minutes, this deal would seem more apt.

Candid thoughts: The Gallinari signing was an excellent move and only further corroborates the notion that Masai Ujiri is a “players” general manager. On his watch, not only have the Nuggets pulled off a phenomenal trade for its superstar who could have easily walked for nothing, but they’ve also managed to re-sign the best player that came to Denver in that deal, in addition to Nene and Afflalo.

So what’s the next big move for what is now one of the best front offices in the entire NBA? As mentioned above, Lawson needs to be re-signed in order to fully secure this young, improving roster for the future. Nene, Afflalo, Gallinari and Lawson are undoubtedly the franchise pillars with guys like Harrington, Brewer, Koufos, Mozgov, Faried and Hamilton acting as the other young role players (excluding Big Al; he’s the veteran leader) to compliment Denver’s solid starting rotation.

But even before Lawson is addressed, current restricted free agent, Wilson Chandler, needs to be first. As I’ve mentioned in the comments section, if the Nuggets desire is to re-sign Lawson (which it rightfully should be), that doesn’t leave much room for Chandler. In fact, it doesn’t leave any room for Chandler unless Masai Ujiri can somehow convince him to take a backup role and accept less money along the way — which certainly isn’t likely. As of right now the Nuggets have roughly $57 million committed to 12 players on the roster for next year, which obviously leaves three more spots that will need to be filled before the start of the 2012-13 campaign. The Nuggets do have three draft picks in the 2012 NBA draft, which in all likelihood they’ll need to hit on, as rookies are by far the best bargain in the league when it comes to salaries.

So, where does this leave Chandler?

My guess is the Nuggets will try and shop him. Current rules set forth by the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement disallow teams to match a restricted free agent’s contract offer from another team, only to then turn around and trade that player; therefore, the Nuggets will have to work with Chandler and teams who are interested in his services to come up with a beneficial sign-and-trade that will see him moved in return for assets most likely in the form of future draft picks given the Nuggets nearly-full roster and lack of financial flexibility. One thing is certain however: The Nuggets, under no circumstances will allow Chandler to walk for nothing. Ujiri proved this sentiment correct with the Carmelo Anthony trade last year. If for some reason a deal cannot be struck Ujiri will have no problem signing Chandler then reissuing one of the Nuggets two second-round draft picks to another team for a return pick down the line. If the Nuggets are forced to pay a small amount of luxury tax for one year, I’m pretty sure Kroenke would understand, especially if the Nuggets keep on the up their current pace.

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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.

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  • chronicnugs

    Pretty good signing. Relatively low risk, reasonable money, worst case scenario is the guy scores 17 a game and actually wants to be here.

  • steve

    Very nice. If AA is worth 8 mill, i figured it would be in the 10-12 range. Glad to see it more around 10.

    I think he’s worth the money. Low risk high reward. If he keeps playing the way he is, another team would have thrown more money at him on offseason and we would of had to match.

    GO NUGS!

  • Aurress

    Glad they locked him up before the price gets driven up this off-season. Absolutely loving Masai rt now.

  • kitkat

    I still think that at least he should have gotten similar to Nene’s contract. Ujiri is a genius!

  • G

    Ty’s gonna be a lot harder to lock in for a decent figure, I fear. Gotta keep him, by all means necessary, IMO.

  • Joe

    Does this mean we won’t have money to re-sign Chandler in March?

    • Kalen

      We can, but it would be ill-advised in my opinion. Chandler is gonna demand somewhere in the six to ten million per year range, most likely settling around eight mil per year. If the Nuggets re-sign him at about that price, they’ll have close to $60 million committed to everyone on the team next year and that doesn’t even take into account guys like Fernandez, Koufos or any other free agents they might way to re-sign. But more importantly, it leaves no room for the Nuggets to re-sign Ty. Trading Chandler and hopefully packaging Birdman with him should be paramount moving forward as that would free up a whole lot of cap space to re-sign Lawson and other key free agents.

  • Desean

    Denver just gave koufos 3 yr $9million extension. Worst move by Denver front office since I dunno when. What the hell has he shown

  • Desean

    Chandler is a freak. Don’t trade him

  • Eddi0

    Agree on Chandler, seems that everyone has forgot how good that guy is…he can do a little of everything. I would agree w/Kalen though, I think Ty is the next piece we need to lock down (however his contract is not up until after 12-13′ season I believe). I would hope we could land some good draft picks and/or good role players for Chandler, he’s a legit starting 2/3. Once we sign Ty we will have 4 of the 5 starters locked up long term…that leaves the much debated Center position…what to do, what to do

  • Omar

    paying chandler is actually pretty simple considering that andre millers contract is done once this season is done and he gets paid about close to 8 million. denver would have to trade birdman to get rid of his contract. amnestying harrington is possible but i’d rather save that just in case afflalo or nene back fire on us but he is a movable player considering how well he has played. rudy fernandez will probably not return next season so he is off the books. i think this team will just barely have enough to sign chandler but if he can be traded for a lottery pick than it must be done, either way a core of lawson, gallo, afflalo,nene, chandler is going to be very solid.

    • Cool Dude

      You may be right (I haven’t looked at the numbers closely), but you might want to consider a couple things:

      1) We cannot amnesty Afflalo or Nene
      2) Harrington has played very well this season. I don’t expect the Nuggets to amnesty him at least for another season or two. If his age catches up to him, it may make sense
      3) Amnestying Bird is another option. I don’t think he has that much trade value. On the other hand, he’s not that expensive either and comes off the books a year earlier than Harrington
      4) Resigning Chandler is not that simple: while Miller’s contract comes off the books, we’ll still need to find/pay some backup point guard. We still need to pay Lawson down the road and absorb Gallinari’s salary increase as well
      5) Resigning Chandler may be possible, but it may be tough (and require trading someone like Afflalo). With Gallinari locking down the SF position, it’s not particularly clear we have a natural place for him to play the minutes he wants/deserves
      6) Chandler has trade value – if we can pair him and our pick for a top ten or better pick, we have to consider that possibility.

  • FinazzAus

    I’m not that against the koufos deal. Only $6mill is garnetee with a team option for the third year. His only young and has good size and aggression on the low post. He really could become a big thing in a year or two. There could be a lot worst contact given out.
    But it does make me wonder if they are working/planning on moving some of our centers. We now have moz, 2K and bird. You could also throw nene into that. I think we will see a move hopefully involving bird to free up cap space.

  • The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Check the numbers on Chandler: he’s not that good. Career WS48 of 0.061.

    If the Nuggets throw $6-10M a year at him, they’re going to find themselves in big trouble. Better to trade him for a pair of picks and continue their habit of picking up hyper-efficient steals in the 2nd half of the 1st round.

  • Trevor

    Instead of doing a sign and trade with Chandler why not just trade Al Harrington and Chris Andersen? Together they are making over 10 million a year. Chandler has a lot more upside at his age than Harrington does. With the way he is playing right now I don’t think it would be too hard to trade Harrington and get something decent in return. I would hate to see the Nuggets lose out on a quality player to add to their young core.

    • Kalen

      That’s a fair point and one I didn’t even think of before. As FinazzAus below mentions, Chandler hasn’t shown the most desire to remain in Denver (moving to China is a dead indicator) and wants to get paid to be a starter. That’s not gonna happen in Denver. Chandler is good, yes, but he also knows this and won’t be satisfied with coming off the bench.

  • FinazzAus

    Let’s remember chandler didn’t want to be here last year when he got traded. Wasn’t intrested in taking about a contact extension and the jump to china at the first chance. Yes we might get him for the end of the season. But his only gonna play out the season with us to get a bit of value for himself and a chance to play playoff basketball with a team who might push for a championship.

  • steve

    Honestly, theres no reason to keep chandler unless you plan on amnestying Al. If you sign him to 6-8 mill which its gonna take, you need to play him 25+ and id rather keep what we have than squeeze chandler who i didnt think played that great for us last year in. Love Gallo, AA, Rudy and brewer at the 2 and 3.

    3 trade options for chander…

    Chandler and Birdman to Hou for Flynn and Hill (maybe picks added somewhere). Both have player options next year and then would be RFA after that so we have control. Both young and still have untapped potential that fit our system. Flynn could be our backup pg when dre leaves.

    Chandler and birdman to Tor for Ed Davis and barbosa – Toronto has made it known they need a SF. they are loaded at bigs with Barg, amir, james johnson and Jonas in the waiting. Davis would be a nice young big to work in. Barbosa is just an expring deal to make it work.

    Chandler to kings for Jason Thompson and future 1st (probably protected for a few years). JT gives us another big which we could use. Hes athletic and can play 4 or 5. He has a decent jumper and plays solid D. RFA next year but shouldnt get much attention. Kings need an upgrade at the 3 with salmons and cisco both struggling.

  • steve

    Honestly, theres no reason to keep chandler unless you plan on amnestying Al. If you sign him to 6-8 mill which its gonna take, you need to play him 25+ and id rather keep what we have than squeeze chandler who i didnt think played that great for us last year. Love Gallo, AA, Rudy and brewer at the 2 and 3.

    3 trade options for chander…

    Chandler and Birdman to Hou for Flynn and Hill (maybe picks added somewhere). Both have player options next year and then would be RFA after that so we have control. Both young and still have untapped potential that fit our system. Flynn could be our backup pg when dre leaves.

    Chandler and birdman to Tor for Ed Davis and barbosa – Toronto has made it known they need a SF. they are loaded at bigs with Barg, amir, james johnson and Jonas in the waiting. Davis would be a nice young big to work in. Barbosa is just an expring deal to make it work.

    Chandler to kings for Jason Thompson and future 1st (probably protected for a few years). JT gives us another big which we could use. Hes athletic and can play 4 or 5. He has a decent jumper and plays solid D. RFA next year but shouldnt get much attention. Kings need an upgrade at the 3 with salmons and cisco both struggling.

    Just me playing GM lol. Just wanted to play around. let me know what u guys think.

  • steve

    oops sorry for double post. computer was lagging and didnt think it went thru.