In the wake of the excitement and bustle of draft day, the Nuggets offseason quieted to a calm, standing in stark contrast to the frenetic rumor mill whirling around the league’s superstars.
But Denver finally got its first flurry of activity over the last day, as they finalized a contract with first round draft pick Gary Harris, cleared the way to doing the same with Jusuf Nurkic by buying out the contract of his Croatian team, and, if “sources” are to be believed, closed in on a deal to sign veteran small forward Mike Miller.
Here are the latest Nuggets offseason updates:
- Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post reported yesterday on Twitter that the Nuggets had signed Gary Harris in time for him to make their Summer League roster. Harris’ signing was never in question, but he now officially is Denver’s third string shooting guard behind Arron Afflalo and Randy Foye. And although he may struggle to crack the regular season rotation, his participation in the Summer League will give Nuggets fans a great opportunity to see him in his first pro appearances.
- Jusuf Nurkic’s Croatian team KK Cedevita posted an announcement (Google Translate version) on their website that the Nuggets’ new 19-year-old big man will indeed be Nuggets-bound this season. Rumors of complications in Denver buying out Nurkic’s contract had created some confusion as to whether the Nuggets could procure him for 2014-15, but in the end Chris Dempsey’s report that the buyout wouldn’t be a problem proved to be correct. David Pick of Eurobasket.com confirmed the buyout on Twitter, adding that the cost would be split over two seasons. And while it appears that it’s now too late for Nurkic to join Denver’s Summer League team, the Nuggets will be happy to begin working on his development immediately, which was their intention from the start.
- Chris Broussard rumor reports often go down best with large grains of salt, but he seemed highly confident in tweeting, “[Mike] Miller is getting close to agreeing to terms with Denver, source says.” Prior to that, Adrian Wojnarowski had tweeted that the competition among the Grizzlies, Thunder, Cavs, and Nuggets for Miller was driving his price tag up to the $4-4.5 million range. If both these reports proved accurate and converged on the Nuggets signing Miller for $4.5 million per year, you can count me squarely amongst those who think such a move would be a really, really bad idea. And for a more in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of Denver bringing Miller on board, check out Charlie’s breakdown here.
After signing Nurkic, and if the Nuggets end up guaranteeing Quincy Miller’s contract, Denver will be a little more than $4.3 million under the luxury tax threshold before signing Miller. Presumably, part of their negotiations with Miller include landing on a price that does not push them over the luxury limit. But using their last open roster spot to max out their payroll by giving a Hickson 2.0 “Win now!” contract to a 14-year, oft-injured veteran who clearly doesn’t figure into their future seems exceedingly self-defeating when considering the long term. I for one would much rather see that final roster spot go to trying to develop Erick Green on a non-guaranteed contract, or to an experienced player for no more than the veteran’s minimum salary.
Regardless, it appears that we are rapidly approaching the tipping point of free agency, when the the big names decide, the flood gates break open, and the mad rush of signings begins. We should have our answer to the Mike Miller question soon.
As always, keep it dialed in right here at Roundball Mining Company for all the latest updates and analysis.
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