J.R. Smith is the Next Nugget to get Churned Through the Rumor Mill

With the Carmelo Anthony rumors flying we are about to see the rest of the franchise get caught up in the drama. Chris Tomasson at Fanhouse is reporting J.R. Smith is on the trading block. The truth is with Carmelo’s status up in the air so to speak there is no player on the Nuggets roster who is safe from trade rumors and speculation. As far as Smith is concerned, J.R. was a Mark Warkentien favorite and with Wark out of town there may not be anyone left to continue to preach patience and tolerance with J.R.

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Trading Carmelo Anthony

When reports surfaced that Chris Paul was going to demand a trade Ryan Schwan at Hornets 247 solicited offers from the TrueHoop Network of bloggers to see what kind of a haul the Hornets could hope to receive for Paul.

With similar rumors floating around regarding the future of Carmelo Anthony, I thought it would be interesting, educational and kind of fun in a morbid way to see what kind of value Carmelo possessed in the eyes of the network.

Below are trades that were sent to me from my TrueHoop network colleagues. I asked them to consider the potential for Carmelo remaining with their team after the season and consider that when crafting their proposals.

The offers are in and I have broken them down into the categories of “Win Now,” “Win Later,” “The Chosen Ones” and trades I had hoped to see ranked in order from don’t call us, we’ll call you to ummm, that’s nice!

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The Indian Summer of Carmelo

Apparently we do not need to wait for 2011 to experience the Summer of Carmelo. We may very well be on the verge of the Indian Summer of Carmelo. Ric Bucher is reporting that Carmelo Anthony no longer desires to play for Denver. The kicker is Carmelo may want out immediately as Bucher speculates Melo will start the season playing for a franchise other than the Denver Nuggets. If you have not yet had the pleasure of reading, hearing or seeing Bucher’s latest work, you can read the ESPN.com article here, listen to his ESPN Radio interview here and there is video below.

First of all, as we experienced with LeBron’s decision, this is one in a number of see-sawing reports we have witnessed over the previous few months which have ranged from Carmelo wants to play with Amare Stoudemire and Tony Parker in New York to Carmelo is likely to sign the extension currently on the table or Carmelo wants to wait to sign the extension in order to put pressure on the Nuggets to improve the roster and now we have moved to Carmelo is going to start the 2010-11 season somewhere else.

Clearly all of this needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Less than a month ago we went through this with Chris Paul as he wanted out of New Orleans. Despite the speculation by the media, including the TrueHoop Network, Paul will be in New Orleans for at least the next few months, if not longer. The same could be true for Carmelo although it warrants mentioning Paul is under contract with New Orleans for two more seasons as opposed to Carmelo’s one giving the Hornets more control than Denver enjoys.

Assuming Carmelo does tell Nuggets’ management he is no longer interested in continuing to play for Denver what options do the Nuggets have? Obviously there can only be two ways all of this is resolved, either Carmelo is a Nugget or he is not, but there are a number of possible ways to arrive at either outcome.

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Talking Melo, Linas Kleiza and more Chris Paul

Over the past few days I have been fortunate enough to appear on Brian Doolittle’s NBA show in St. Louis called At the Buzzer on Sports Radio 1380 to talk about Carmelo Anthony’s future in Denver and I was a guest on Rapcast, the Raptors Republic podcast, to discuss Linas Kleiza and what he will bring as he takes his talents north of the border.  In a nutshell Bryan Colangelo is selling Kleiza as a gritty player that will bring stout defense to the Raptors.  Talk about setting someone up to fail.  Kleiza is a skilled player, but a defensive stalwart he is not.

Ryan Schwan at Hornets 247 sought out the best trade offers for Chris Paul from the members of the TrueHoop Network.  My four team masterpiece did not claim the top spot, but earned a gold star.  Make sure you head over and check out the best Chris Paul trade proposals from a group of savvy hoops writers.

Introducing the Commentbag!

Welcome to my first ever comment bag (and from what I can tell almost the first ever comment bag period as someone might have beat me to it by a matter of hours). You have read mailbags before, but there has been so much good discussion about recent events that I wanted to make sure everyone saw some of them, and of course I would like to add my highly insightful thoughts as well.  All grammatical errors are the responsibility of the author although I did clean a couple of them up.  Lucky for you all I hated English class too.

drewjay: Jeremy, I would love to read how your opinion on the LeBron decision, although you might be sick of hearing about it.

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More Thoughts on the Al Harrington Signing

After I trashed the Nuggets signing of Al Harrington there was a glimmer of hope that the 5 year, $33.437 million contract was not as bad as first thought.  John Hollinger reported that he heard the final two seasons were only partially guaranteed.  It appears that is not the case as Chris Tomasson had this little blurb in his article on the signing:

While Dallas, like Denver, offered Harrington the full mid-level exception starting at $5.765 million, Harrington didn’t want to talk about whether the Mavericks were willing to offer him the five fully guaranteed years that Denver did.

Five fully guaranteed years.  Once again we are faced with the specter of this deal weighing the Nuggets down in the near future.
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Denver Nuggets Sign Shelden Williams; Resign Anthony Carter

According to @NBAonESPN the Denver Nuggets have agreed to terms with Shelden Williams and resigned Anthony Carter.  I have not seen any info on the contracts yet.  We know Carter agreed to his typical one year veterans minimum deal.  Williams could have been signed with either a minimum contract or the biannual veterans exception which would be a two year deal starting anywhere up to $2.18 million.

Williams was a player I thought Denver should have looked into last season as he is a good defender and rebounder who could be had for cheap.  His signing is good news from a defensive standpoint.  However, he is a little undersized and while he adds some girth he does not have the length to handle the Lakers’ twin towers.  Plus, when everyone is healthy he will be the fifth big and is not likely to see significant minutes.  As with Harrington we will take a look at what Williams brings to the table in the coming days.

The Nuggets should just sign Carter to a six year veterans minimum deal because we know as long as he can run he will be a Nugget.  With the growth of Lawson Carter should only see the court when either Chauncey or Ty are injured.  However, as we saw last season his play suffers when asked to play too many minutes too many nights in a row.

Denver Nuggets Sign Al Harrington

My post about how Denver was one of only two teams yet to add a player to their roster since the end of the 2009-10 season (Cleveland is the other) was interrupted by the announcement that they had come to terms with Al Harrington on a five year, $34 million contract which appears to be a full midlevel exception deal (which has been confirmed by Marc Stein in a new edition of the article).

My response is taking action for the sake of taking action is not always the right thing to do.

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Nuggets Miss out on O’Neal; Gain a Chance at Beasley?

There were two free agent signings today that has a direct impact on the Denver Nuggets. Jermaine O’Neal signed with the Boston Celtics and Linas Kleiza is returning to the NBA after signing an offer sheet with the Toronto Raptors. The O’Neal signing is very disappointing, but the Kleiza offer sheet could open up a tremendous opportunity for Denver.

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Answering a Big Question

Yesterday I recommended that the Denver Nuggets send the current roster out with a bang. The question then is how exactly can they do such a thing?

Denver has some assets which would have been tasty in the past in the form of Kenyon Martin’s expiring contract as well as J.R. Smith’s expiring deal. In the past expiring contracts have been used to acquire players like Antawn Jamison, Kevin Martin and Marcus Camby exchanged teams last season at the trade deadline for expiring contracts and I bet everyone remembers the deal where the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol for expiring contracts and his younger brother.

The bad news for Denver is with all the teams that have cleared cap space for this summer and the handful of teams who are poised to have cap space next summer, the demand for a big expiring deal like Kenyon’s is very low.

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How Good is Carmelo Anthony?

The one of a kind all-time Nugget great coach Doug Moe’s final season as coach of the Denver Nuggets was 1989-90. Up until then the Nuggets had been one of the best teams in the ABA and then the NBA for 16 seasons. Things took a drastic turn for the worse starting with the 1990-91 season. Paul Westhead brought his comically bad offensive brand of basketball to the Mile High City and the result was far and away the worst season in franchise history. Denver won 20 games and became the laughingstock of the league giving up over 130 points per game. Denver’s defensive efficiency that season was an all-time worst 114.7, tied only by the abysmal 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks and the 2008-09 Sacramento Kings.

Starting with the Paul Westhead experiment the Nuggets fell from one of the better franchises to one of the worst. Over the next 13 seasons Denver won an average of 27.9 games. There was more evidence supporting the existence of the Loch Ness Monster than that the Nuggets had ever been in the playoffs (although to be fair they gave us an exciting playoff run consisting of the well known upset over the Seattle Supersonics in the spring of 1994). The franchise bottomed out during the 1997-98 season as Denver flirted with the worst record in league history pulling out a scant 11 victories.

Somehow over a decade plus of losing the Nuggets were never able to land a true franchise player. The Nuggets topped out as a mediocre team under the duo of Nick Van Exel and Antonio McDyess, who to be fair was an Olympian and memorably scored the game winning basket in the semifinals in Sydney to avoid an upset at the hands of Lithuania back when the USA never lost in international competition, and when Dyess went down with a serious knee injury it made it even easier to tear the team down and start over from scratch.

That reclamation project came to fruition in the summer of 2003. It was then that the Nuggets finally acquired a player talented enough to be considered the cornerstone of a winning franchise. Fourteen seasons after the departure of Doug Moe the Carmelo Anthony arrived in town and there was legitimate hope in Denver for the future of the Denver Nuggets.

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