For those not following us on twitter, there’s been a couple more rumors swirling around the ongoing Wilson Chandler saga. The first coming out of hoopshype stating that the Toronto Raptors are actively trying to free up space for an offer sheet by trading Leandro Barbosa. The second and most compelling rumor causing much consternation amongst Nuggets fans is out of Sportando, an Italian basketball website which is reporting that Chandler’s agent Chris Luchey is “in serious talks with an Italian team to seal a deal for rest of season.”
Both rumors are sourced only to twitter and it’s fair to say they’re rooted in speculation more than anything else right now. As we’ve gone through several times with the Chandler situation, he is in a unique position and only able to negotiate in earnest with one team — the Denver Nuggets.
I would not put a lot of stock into the Leandro Barbosa rumors. He’s been on the trade block for a while and the Raptors know that desperately giving him away in a hurry is a questionable move considering there is no guarantee Denver does not just match their offer sheet. As has been reported by ESPN and Hoopsworld, the Raptors seem resigned to the fact that putting together an offer sheet at this late stage is not likely to work out well.
The rumors of Chandler’s agent negotiating with Italy only reinforces our view that Denver holds all the cards in terms of Wilson returning to the NBA. It’s clear that he wants to be in the NBA, even going so far as to negotiate an early release from his Chinese team and seek an early letter of clearance from FIBA. As we have assumed for a long time, Denver has no interest in signing Chandler short term and granting him the holy grail of unrestricted free agency in exchange for a few months of service.
Wilson must feel he is being forced over to Europe due to Denver not willing to accept a one year deal. Chandler can certainly apply pressure by threatening to head over to Europe for the remainder of the season, but Denver would still own his rights whenever he returns. Not to mention Chandler runs the risk of serious injury while he remains a free agent and there is no guarantee he will be rewarded with the richer contract he’s seeking by waiting till the summer.
The Nuggets are playing hardball with Chandler, as expected. All it means as the process will be longer and more drawn out as Chandler exercises his leverage and continues to test Denver’s resolve to give him the long-term deal he seeks. The Nuggets clearly seem more interested in protecting themselves rather than just getting him on the floor and it looks like a 50/50 proposition in terms of whether or not he’ll be back.
I highly recommend following us on twitter, as I often discuss Chandler stuff there and the situation is such that we won’t post about every future development as it occurs. You can follow me here and go ahead and give Kalen and Jeremy a follow as well.
On to the current links and Nuggets news, bullet-style this time for convenience.
- Sportando – Danilo Gallinari: “I hope to be back in 10 days” – In an interview with Italian TV, Gallo said his recovery is going well but he is not yet running and hopes to return in the next 10 days. That would mean he’s likely to miss 3 or 4 more games and return in the middle of Denver’s 9-game home stand starting in March. Possible dates for return are 3/5 versus Sacramento or 3/7 versus Cleveland. Things will be tough without Gallo for the first three games after the break, but the schedule gets considerably easier afterwards.
- Euronews – Gallinari signs endorsement deal with Adidas – this article is in Italian, but thanks to Google translate and a little bit of digging I’ve discovered that Gallo signed a new shoe contract just before the All-Star break. Since his arrival in the NBA after being drafted by the New York Knicks, Gallo has been a Reebok athlete. He switched to Adidas, the parent company of Reebok, sometime during the lockout last summer in which he played with Olimpia Milano. Gallo seems to have now inked a long-term deal to wear Adidas for the foreseeable future.
- Aaron Lopez – Learning on the Fly – Aaron Lopez of Nuggets.com profiles the rookie seasons of Jordan Hamilton, Julyan Stone, and Kenneth Faried.
- Denver Post – Karl responds to Kenyon Martin criticism – I’m just trolling with this one. George Karl takes the high road and offers a politically correct response to Kenyon Martin’s recent tirade against his former coach and the Nuggets organization.
- Mark Kiszla – Nuggets swoon? Put the blame on George Karl – Mark Kiszla cites George Karl’s nonchalant attitude towards losing with injured players as one of the main reasons for the Nuggets’ slide out of the playoff picture. In an interesting development, this is the first time I’ve seen a member of the Denver news media criticize Karl’s coaching performance.
- Twitter – Just another reminder that the best way to keep up with the latest developments on Wilson Chandler is to follow us on twitter. You can get the commentary and updates from us there as the saga continues. I also tweet during most games. Once again, here’s the links to follow us:
Charlie | Jeremy | Kalen