The Denver Nuggets have paid the 11th most in luxury tax

The NBA’s big spenders will soon have to reckon with a much more punitive luxury tax structure. From the league’s implementation of the tax in 2003, teams have been required to pay “just” one dollar in luxury tax for every dollar in payroll that exceeds the tax threshold. This relatively soft penalty on an already soft salary cap will soon undergo significant changes. Cap guru Larry Coon describes the new luxury tax conditions under the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, which will kick into effect next year:

Starting in 2012-13, teams pay an incremental tax that increases with every $5 million above the tax threshold ($1.50, $1.75, $2.50, $3.25, etc.). Teams that are repeat offenders (paying tax at least four out of the past five seasons) have a tax that is higher still — $1 more at each increment ($2.50, $2.75, $3.50, $4.25, etc.).

The desired effect is that these heavier penalties will give pause to even the deepest pocketed, biggest spending owners such as the Knicks’ James Dolan, the Lakers’ Jerry Buss, and the Mavericks’ Mark Cuban, when it comes to dishing out big bucks on salaries. (Though many might point to this summer’s free agency period as evidence the dissuasive effect has been minimal so far).

With the Kroenke family at the helm, the Denver Nuggets have been in the upper strata of teams with wealthy owners. According to (more…)

A Pre-Season Season Preview

Below you will find my submission for this year’s Celtics Blog preview-palooza.  It is a little silly to write a season preview seeing as how we have no idea what will happen with Carmelo.  Regardless, it was fun to write and I recommend you head over to Celtics Blog to read the other Nuggets previews (update: the Nuggets previews have not been posted as of yet so keep checking back).  Up-update: links to the other Nuggets previews from Nate at Denver Stiffs and the Nugg Doctor are posted.

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The Nuggets Front Office Restructuring is Complete

August 25, 2010 could very well be a watershed day in the history of the Denver Nuggets.  The question is will it lead to a championship or a decade of lottery appearances?  I guess there is a bit of room for some middle ground there too, but what I wrote sounds so much more dramatic.
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Summarizing the Mark Warkentien Era

The Denver Nuggets have been to the playoffs seven straight seasons and have posted three straight 50 win campaigns for the first time as an NBA franchise. Despite the consistency they have displayed on the court, the front office is once again in a state of flux.

The Nuggets announced today Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman will not have their contracts renewed and thus will cease to be employed by the club at the end of August (Denver Post article, Tomasson article on FanHouse). This is no surprise as Warkentien has been granted permission to speak with other teams about their front office vacancies. Over the previous four seasons the Nuggets have had quite a few cooks around the fire. Warkentien, Chapman, Bret Bearup and George Karl have all had a say in personnel matters and do not forget Stan Kroenke ultimately determines what he is willing to spend which plays a considerable role in player personnel decisions.

Despite the crowded kitchen Warkentien was the head chef and he made a significant mark on the franchise.

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Bret Bearup Exposed!

Editor’s note: Summer league may be over, but that does not mean we have to let it go. Bret Bearup, Mark Warkentien and George Karl were all interviewed during Denver Nuggets games. I was able to get very low quality recordings of the interviews so crank the volume on your computer and enjoy.

We start our troika of interviews with Bret Bearup, the most mysterious of the Nuggets front office muckety mucks. No one really knows exactly what Bearup’s role is with Denver, but he clearly speaks with authority and claims that he recommended both Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman to Denver. I would think that gives him some serious pull.

During the interview Bearup talks about how he is pleased with the progress that Sonny Weems has made, the chances of Coby Karl making the roster and his opinion of George Karl.

Click here to listen.

Listening to what he says about Coby I would not be surprised to find out that the Weems trade was intended to clear up a spot for Karl the Younger. Regarding Ty Lawson, the way he describes the role they see Lawson playing it sounds a lot like what Anthony Carter has done for Denver in the past. I think the Nuggets brass is expecting Lawson to be the backup point guard for most if not all the season.

I also thought it was interesting to hear that he verifies that the room they budgeted for the Camby trade exception was eaten up by acquiring Chauncey Billups. Bearup verifies that the plan was to acquire a point guard with the exception, but once the Billups trade presented itself it plugged that hole in the budget and on the court. Even if they let the exception expire in November, I think everything has worked out pretty well.

Next up is an interview with Warkentien. Look for that tomorrow morning.