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.
As has been pointed out by several readers, Wilson Chandler is currently visiting numerous different teams who have expressed interest in the free agent small forward. On Wednesday, Chandler was in Toronto, a team that covets him and has for quite some time. According to his agent Chris Luchey, Chandler is talking to six other teams besides the Nuggets and does in fact have interest in signing with Raptors. As Marc Stein pointed out on Twitter, “Only three teams currently have the needed cap space to test Denver’s Chandler resolve: Pacers ($14 million), Kings ($9million) and Cavs ($7.1 million).” Meanwile, according to SI.com’s Sam Amick, just as we’d thought all along here at Roundball Mining Co., Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri, “has made it clear he has no interest in signing him for only the rest of the season and that he wants a long-term deal.”
[Note: The first two stories are the previous entrees about Chris Andersen and Wilson Chandler; the next few, however, are stories that have come to light since this post was originally created.]
ESPN.com is reporting (Insider only) that Nuggets center, Chris “Birdman” Andersen is on the trading block with Koufos having been recently re-signed and playing solid basketball. There have reportedly not been any immediate suitors for Andersen, although as the trade deadline approaches this could change quickly. Although Birdman is 33 and still has two years at just below $10 million left on his contract, he might be an enticing option for a title contender who needs defensive help in the front court.
In other news, ESPN.com is reporting Wilson Chandler could return to the U.S. sooner than expected. According to Marc Stein, Chandler’s Chinese Basketball Association team, the Zhejiang Lions, made a deal with the former Nugget that as long as he managed to get the Lions to the Playoffs he could then come back to his home country earlier than expected. However, even though Lions management is willing to part with him, Chandler still must receive his FIBA letter of clearance in order to play in the NBA and it is unknown whether Chinese officials would be willing to bend on their harsh stance in regards to this issue. There is some speculation that if Chandler attends Sunday’s CBA All Star game officials would be more open to lending him his clearance letters at an earlier date.
Former Denver Nuggets beat writer Marc J. Spears has posted a story on Yahoo! Sports that Wilson Chandler wants to resign with Denver at the close of his service in China. While on the face of it, a quick return appears imminent, I think some caution is in order.
The quote from Chandler’s agent, Chris Luchey, that caught my attention was this one:
“The ball is in their court. If Wilson is comfortable, he will be a part of their core group.”
Upon hearing the news that Danilo Gallinari experienced more than just an ankle sprain against the Houston Rockets and might miss one month every Nuggets’ fan response was, “When can Wilson Chandler get here?”
As everyone who cares about the Nuggets knows, Wilson Chandler chose to sign a contract to play in China despite the lack of an opt-out clause which would allow him to return to the N.B.A. should the lockout end prior to the cancelation of the 2011-12 season.
Projections for Chandler’s availability have ranged from March to April. The way I understand it, Chandler will be freed from his service to the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions as soon as their season ends. While the truth is that could be anywhere between February 15 and sometime in April, there is an ever so slight chance that the Lions season could end on the fifteenth.
On Saturday the Denver Nuggets chose to waive DeMarre Carroll, according to Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post. With next Tuesday’s deadline that demands all NBA contracts become guaranteed and Wilson Chandler still not re-signed, waiving Carroll was the simplest way to ensure a roster spot remains open for Chandler upon his return to the NBA sometime in the near future.
It’s early in the Denver Nuggets 2011-2012 season, but the story so far has no doubt been the inspiring double overtime win against the departed Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers doesn’t feature the same hype and excitement surrounding the Knicks contest, but it’s no less symbolic for Nuggets fans witnessing Chauncey Billups’ first return to the Pepsi Center since the infamous trade marking the end of the Melo era.
Courtesy of Benjamin Hochman, details are emerging on the latest season of NBATV’s “The Association” which will follow the Denver Nuggets through the 2011-2012 season. The first episode airs next Wednesday on NBATV and you can find the full schedule in Hochman’s Nuggets Ink post. For those not familiar with the show it is a fascinating look into the grind of an NBA season from the perspective of the players, coaches, front office executives and trainers. The Nuggets were last featured on NBATV’s “Real Training Camp” two seasons ago and that was a must-watch for Nuggets fans as I’m sure “The Association” will be as well.
We’d also like to post a friendly reminder to attend Stiffs Night Out for the upcoming New York Knicks game. It will no doubt be a fun time and a great opportunity to hang out with fellow Nuggets fans. Our friends at Denver Stiffs are also giving away prime seats to an upcoming home game and if you’re in the Denver area, I strongly suggest you go! Follow the link on Denver Stiffs for all the details.
On to the latest news and links.
After 13 years of NBA service, it’s fair to say Andre Miller has been one of the more overlooked and undervalued point guards of his generation. His ability to produce well into his thirties places him in the rarified company of Steve Nash, Chauncey Billups, and Jason Kidd yet his lack of playoff success and individual accolades exclude him from being held in the same regard.
Playing with that chip on his shoulder has made Miller the successful, highly motivated player he is today. Unfortunately, it’s also put Andre at the center of another point guard controversy in Denver after candidly telling Chris Tomasson he’s unhappy with a backup role and prefers to go elsewhere in free agency next season.
With the start of the 2011-12 NBA season less than a week away and Afflalo still not re-signed, Nuggets fans everywhere are beginning to wonder what exactly is going on behind closed doors. Is Nuggets’ management asking for too little? Is Afflalo fielding offers from other teams? What kind of contract stipulations, if any, are being discussed? These are questions only a select few in the upper echelon of the Nuggets organization know the answer to, and unfortunately for us, they’re not telling. Until the day comes when these mysterious answers are revealed, there’s not much going on in Nuggets Nation.
According to David Aldridge of NBA.com the Nuggets have explored the possibility of sending a second-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for 6-10 center, Marreese Speights. The deal is currently on hold until Denver further understands the future of Nene, but chances are that should he not return, seeing Speights in a Nuggets uniform is highly likely. Stay tuned as more information continues to proliferate.
For fans looking at sites like Hoops Hype that show the Denver Nuggets with nearly $30 million in cap space and wondering why on earth Denver is not making plays for some of the big names on the free agent market I have two words for you.
Personally I had not factored the various cap holds oppressing the Nuggets until I noticed that John Hollinger, in his piece analyzing the free agent signings on Saturday, noted that Denver signed Luc Richard Mbah a Moute using their mid-level exception. The mid-level exception is for teams over the cap. How can Denver use it when they are so far under the salary cap? It is due to the immense power of the cap hold.
For those that followed our last installment yesterday, this is more of the same. News and commentary updated here as it comes out. Feel free to follow Jeremy, Kalen and Charlie on twitter to find out when we post an update. Not to get anyone’s hopes up but rumors are out that more decisions are expected today, particularly in the case of Nene to the New Jersey Nets.
Free Agency hasn’t started yet, but that has caused no shortage of drama in what is sure to be the craziest NBA offseason ever. By now you’ve all heard news of the Chris Paul deal that wasn’t. The league office will open for business at 12pm MST today and it will be very interesting to see how fast the frenzy will unfold one day after the infamous Veto. This post will be updated with any Nuggets developments and our thoughts on them, so check back throughout the day.
Free agency is right around the corner, and with it comes somewhat of a watershed moment for the Denver Nuggets franchise. Two of their best starters are among the most desired free agents and the Nuggets want to keep both while being extremely careful with their salary cap. Masai Ujiri can try all he wants to accomplish all three of these goals, but the most likely solution means compromising on one or two of them. Most importantly, each and every one of these choices must fall in line with a plan that makes progress towards the ultimate goal of a championship. Do we know what that plan is yet?