It’s time to take stock of the state of Denver’s salary structure, as the NBA free agency period has officially begun, and with it the annual ritual of Nuggets fans speculating which players – if any – the team will target this summer.
With just one roster spot currently open, it seems unlikely that Denver will be overly active in free agency unless they make a trade or two to trim down the payroll and free up roster space. And while GM Tim Connelly will have the full $5.3 million mid-level exception at his disposal, using it would likely propel Denver over the luxury tax threshold, territory where the Kroenkes have generally been loathe to tread.
After two days of postdraft analysis from every writer in the basketball blogosphere, it’s time RMC takes the pulse of its own contributors (and one fan) to determine just how high Tim Connelly and co. got our heart rates going on June 26. In our latest 5-on-5 we hand out draft grades, trade grades and a few kind words to Nuggets’ management all while assessing where Denver goes from here. Joining us again is loyal reader Frederick Barteldes. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts on the following questions in the comments section below.
Now that the instant Twitter analysis part of the draft process has concluded for most major media outlets, some real narrative content is starting to emerge. Aside from a few late evaluations, included below are news stories and interesting tidbits I’ve discovered over the last 24 hours about the Nuggets’ draft selections that should give you an even better idea of how well things went on Thursday night. If you find similar stories that I’ve left out, please feel free to include them in the comments section with accompanying commentary.
The NBA Draft is a lot like a night on the town. It can get wild, crazy, sometimes a bit out of hand, and luckily for you time waits on no man. The very next day, whether you like it or not, you get the privilege of ruminating over what you did the night before. In the Nuggets’ case, a plethora of media outlets have already opined about what transpired on June 26, 2014. Let’s see what they had to say…
OK, so after my naive draft euphoria, here is a bit of instant analysis on what Denver’s done thus far in the draft…
As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Denver has traded Evan Fournier and the 56th pick to Orlando for Aaron Afflalo.
Well everyone, after weeks of writing, talking, listening and dreaming (a few nights ago I had a dream I was skiing with Marcus Smart and Tyler Ennis — not even kidding, sad as it is) the 2014 NBA Draft is finally upon us. It’s gonna be crazy, and I don’t know what’s gonna happen at this point given everything we’ve heard about the Nuggets, yet we’re certainly prepared here at RMC. But before we dive head first into draft night updates and analysis, I give you one last draft stand complete with an extremely naive big board, some sleepers and of course, rumors!
The draft is just two days away, and with it comes the beginning of a new NBA season in earnest. We’ve already covered the basics pretty extensively — with a full roster hopefully returning to health, the Nuggets don’t have a ton of room to add prospects. Bearing that limited (immediate) flexibility in mind, it’s important to zero in on how the Nuggets can best improve with their lottery pick. We’ve already done some detailed analysis of this year’s crop of shooting guards – a strong group in this draft which just happens to line up with Denver’s biggest need.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the San Antonio Spurs over the years — outside of the fact Gregg Popovich is an absolute freaking genius — it’s that perpetual success can be achieved through drafting well, especially late into the second round where unheralded international players often reside. Nine of the Spurs’ 15 players on their roster are from overseas and of all their players who logged at least 15 minutes per game this past season, only two were from the U.S. and only one was selected inside the lottery. So as much as NBA fans like to casually dismiss second-round picks as irrelevant, it’s probably best we absorb our history lessons from the actual world champions who just defied this sentiment for the fifth time in the last 15 years — which is exactly the goal of RMC’s final Prospecting post leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft.
There are a slew of questions surrounding how things will play out for the Nuggets this offseason. And it appears the first of them may have now been answered. Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports has reported on Twitter that Nate Robinson intends to stick around for another season:
Also, agent Aaron Goodwin says Denver PG Nate Robinson – as he stated in March – will indeed exercise the $2.1 mil player option for ’14-15.
This is good news for Denver. Guard depth will be an issue for them to address this offseason, and as Ty Lawson’s backup, Nate-Rob provides solid production, an offensive spark off the bench, and great leadership — all on a very reasonable contract.
[UPDATE] According to the Denver Nuggets, Darrell Arthur has also exercised his player option for the upcoming season. Arthur is slated to earn $3.4 million while Robinson is on the books for $2.1 million, raising the Nuggets’ overall salary to roughly $5 and a half million more than it was just days ago.
[UPDATE No. 2] In other news, Chad Ford of ESPN.com is reporting Dario Saric has signed a three-year deal with Anadolu Efes in Turkey. As part of the deal Saric is prohibited from playing in the NBA for at least two years. The Nuggets have been linked to Saric in the past few days, reportedly promising to draft him if he was still on the board at 11. Though you can’t rule out the possibility of the Nuggets still selecting Saric, this would appear to diminish those odds — at least from a pragmatic standpoint.
[UPDATE No. 3] As if the Nuggets didn’t have enough rumors swirling around them leading up to the draft, according to Sportando.com Joffrey Lauvergne has reached a two-year agreement with Russia’s Khimki Moscow. The Nuggets have reportedly desired to bring Lauvergne to Denver for the upcoming season, however this news would (once again) appear to drastically diminish those odds.
Kevin Love. The name is just to damn ripe for musical puns. And I’m not gonna lie. I mulled over many different titles for this post, which as you might be able to guess, is our latest 5-on-5 about the Kevin Love rumors. I started with “Love Me Do,” then went to “What’s Love Got to do With It?” Once I came across “Bizarre Love Triangle” I was dead set on rolling with it because that song kicks ass and I love New Order, but I didn’t really see the triangle connection. I also contemplated “Whole Lotta Love,” “Lotta Love,” (the Nicolette Larson cover, though the Neil Young version is just glorious, as most all Neil songs are) “Hello, I Love You” and nearly went with “Sowing the Seeds of Love” before finally settling on “Do You Believe In Love?” because I was tired of rifling through the 700 songs on my iPod with the word “love” in them and it just fit damnit!
Ahem… Anyways, as you might be able to gather, I’m somewhat musically obsessive, somewhat crazy and entirely enthralled by this story. So is one of our loyal readers, Frederick Barteldes, who joined us in our hodgepodge examination of trading for Kevin Love. As always, feel free to play along in the comments section below by including your answers to the questions in bold.
Over the next few weeks leading up to the draft news will continue to pour in regarding draftees and their connection with the Nuggets. Whether these be interviews, workouts or nothing more than Twitter rumors, each bit of information plays its own role in the ongoing quest to determine what exactly the Nuggets plan to do on June 26. To better maintain a draft-related knowledge base we’ve created this tracker post to monitor all future and past developments leading up to draft night. We’ll continue to update the following list as more news emerges, so be sure to keep checking in at RMC throughout the month. Additionally, if you happen to know of any rumors we’ve missed, be sure to let us know in the comments section below.
The 2014 NBA Draft edges ever-closer, and with every day more questions emerge. It’s not merely about who to pick (as Kalen is listing so brilliantly in his Prospecting posts this week), or how to go about selecting the best player for Denver in this draft, but what this draft will reveal about the Denver Nuggets’ direction; The Nuggets’ future. (more…)
A few years ago the Nuggets selected an international player in the first round of the NBA Draft, resulting in a firestorm of media criticism, fan outrage and blogger perplexity. At the time virtually nothing was known about Evan Fournier — at least not by your layman NBA Draft fan. Though he was slated to be a late first-round pick all year long, not one blogger or analyst (including yours truly) projected him to land with the Nuggets on draft night. Fastforward two years and Fournier has turned into a solid NBA role player, more than justifying where the Nuggets selected him in 2012.
What Nuggets fans should have collectively gleaned from that tumultuous June night is that it’s always wise to cover all your bases when it comes to the NBA Draft, no matter how unknown a foreign prospect is to our highly concentrated American way of life, or how unlikely he is to land with the Nuggets based on Internet mock draft rankings. Therefore, in RMC’s penultimate installment of this year’s Prospecting series we analyze which international player(s) could have the Nuggets singing “I Chose You” in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.
According to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, the Denver Nuggets have made a worthwhile offer to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. Per Bulpett’s twitter account:
How Denver would go about obtaining Arron Afflalo, then subsequently flipping him to Minnesota, is still unknown. Though Bulpett points out how Denver’s first-round pick in the upcoming draft wouldn’t be sent to the Timberwolves, he doesn’t deny that it could go to the Magic, giving them back-to-back picks at 11 and 12, as well as three lottery selections overall. If this were the case, Orlando would assist the Nuggets in bringing a star player to Denver on the final year of his contract in exchange for a first-round draft pick for the second time in three years, with Arron Afflalo acting as a trade chip each time.
Though the above tweets are only rumors at this point, this news remains unequivocally exciting, and somewhat scary, from a Nuggets fan’s standpoint. While Kevin Love is exactly the type of player Denver has been searching for since the departure of Carmelo Anthony, his contract instability should not be overlooked. If the Nuggets are serious about gambling on Love they must have additional moves lined up down the road, as the team’s current cast of players likely won’t be enough to storm deep into the playoffs nor will it be enough to entice Love to re-sign once his current deal expires.
Regardless of what develops, this storyline certainly adds a whole new and electrifying dimension to the Nuggets’ upcoming draft and ensuing free agency period. As always, stay tuned to RMC for updates.