Q: Which players have the Nuggets signed for 2013-14, and what are their total combined salaries?
A: Based on the latest reported offers, the Nuggets have $60.3 million dedicated to 13 players: Lawson, A. Miller, Foye, Fournier, Hamilton, Gallinari, Chandler, Q. Miller, Faried, Hickson, Arthur, McGee, and Randolph. (Foye and Hickson cannot officially be signed until July 10.) The salary cap is $58.6 million.
Q: Can the Nuggets still sign players even though they’re over the cap?
A: Yes, but only using cap exceptions, which will be explained in the next few questions.
Q: Can the Nuggets keep Timofey Mozgov and Corey Brewer?
A: Yes. Denver has Bird Rights for both, which allows an exception to sign them for any salary between the league minimum and maximum. Management has expressed some interest in keeping Mozgov, but has been silent about Brewer.
Q: Can the Nuggets add players from other teams?
A: Yes. The Nuggets will have a $9 million Traded Player Exception after trading Iguodala and acquiring Foye. This exception cannot be used to sign players directly, but can be used to trade for players, including in sign-and-trade deals. Denver also has the bi-annual exception of $2.02 million, which can be used to sign a free agent. The mid-level exception was used to sign Hickson.
Q: The Nuggets have had a lot of Traded Player Exceptions, but have they ever used them?
A: Yes. Arron Afflalo, Corey Brewer, and Rudy Fernandez were all acquired using Traded Player Exceptions. The team has also used these exceptions as part of larger deals, such as the trade that brought in Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson.
Q: Will reluctance to pay the luxury tax stop Denver from using the Traded Player Exception?
A: No. The Nuggets are more than $11 million below the $71.6 million tax line. That leaves enough space to use the full exception, though doing so might force the team to let go of Mozgov or another player.
Q: Will signing Hickson and Foye make it financially difficult to keep core players like Kenneth Faried?
A: Unlikely, but it’s possible if combined with other salary-adding moves. All players currently signed by the Nuggets have contracts for at least the next two seasons. Faried, Hamilton, and Quincy Miller are due for extensions in 2015, at the same time as Andre Miller, Darrell Arthur, and Anthony Randolph’s contracts expire. If no other significant moves are made, Denver will have around $25 million in space beneath the projected luxury tax line. The Nuggets have shown an aversion to paying the tax, but a willingness to get very close to the line, so extending Faried and others should be possible.