News: Robinson and Arthur to stay with Nuggets in 2014-15, Saric and Lauvergne to remain overseas

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.

Grading Tim Connelly’s first year as Denver Nuggets General Manager

On June 17 last year, the Nuggets announced that Tim Connelly had been tapped to take the helm of Denver’s front office. In the month preceding his hiring, owner Josh Kroenke had overseen a turbulent start to Denver’s offseason, and Connelly joined a Nuggets organization reckoning with the startling departure of Masai Ujiri for Toronto and the firing of Coach of the Year George Karl. Exacerbating the chaotic atmosphere, Andre Iguodala – who the Nuggets clearly had expected to return – opted out to become an unrestricted free agent just eleven days after Connelly’s arrival, and it quickly became clear that he did not intend to re-sign with Denver.

From day one, Connelly’s rookie year as general manager has been a trial by fire, albeit a fire he enthusiastically jumped into.

To many, including a fair share of the writers here at Roundball Mining Company, it seemed unrealistic that the Nuggets would be able to replicate (let alone surpass) the previous season’s success (more…)

Denver Nuggets offseason to-do list

I’ve been doing the Denver Nuggets offseason to-do list for four years now. It’s become a tradition, and it’s a great way to analyze the roster and cap flexibility heading into summer. Every year presents its own unique set of circumstances surrounding the roster, but I do have to say, I can’t remember an offseason being this difficult to forecast. As Joel recently pointed out in his Dearth of financial flexibility post, the Nuggets desperately need to make moves yet have hardly any room to maneuver – like Austin Powers attempting a three-point turn in Dr. Evil’s underground lair. It’s really anyone’s guess as to how Tim Connelly will go about doing his job this summer, and though it seems likely the Nuggets do less as apposed to more, here are some suggestions regarding how the team can position itself to win more games down the road while decreasing its long-term cap strain.

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5-on-5: Player’s Ball

If there’s one thing the Denver Nuggets could hang their hats on this year, it was the players. Denver has lots of them. Most of them good, some of them marginal, a few not so marginal. Some had career seasons, while others couldn’t quite live up to expectations fans set in the summer months leading up to tip off in October. If there was anything gleaned from this season it came from the players, each and every one, good or bad. In our latest 5-on-5 we attempt to examine which of these players belongs in all the superlative categories associated with postseason analysis. Yes, this is our awards post for the 2013-14 season, if such a thing is possible after such a strenuous year of basketball. As always, we encourage you to pose your answers to the following questions in the comments section below.

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Dearth of financial flexibility and open roster spots may result in a quiet Nuggets offseason

Although chaos ruled last summer’s Nuggets offseason, this year it may be defined by calm.

Going into the 2014 offseason, the Nuggets have a roster likely to remain loaded up at or near the 15-player maximum. Of their current 15 contracted players, only two are expiring – Jan Vesely and Aaron Brooks. Another two, Darrell Arthur and Nate Robinson, have player options but have both expressed interest in staying with the Nuggets. And Denver will surely hang onto the only remaining player whose 2014-15 salary is not guaranteed. The coaching staff and front office have highly praised Quincy Miller’s progress this season, and will be looking to continue his development.

So if the Nuggets let Vesely and Brooks walk, they will be entering the offseason with only two open roster spots. (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 101 Utah Jazz 94

In a less-than-meaningful game between two lottery-bound teams, bad offense ruled the day. Then, the second half came along and Denver exploded for 67 points, defeating the Jazz for their third straight win.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 123-Houston Rockets 116

The Nuggets really, really tried hard to blow another game to the Rockets with a bad fourth quarter performance but they were able to hold on and defeat Houston 123-116. Randy Foye turned into a human fireball with 30 points, including a 22 points third quarter to secure their 11th straight record with a winning record in Denver.

Grades are below the jump.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 125-Houston Rockets 130

Denver had the upset in their hands thanks to a furious second half rally but ultimately they forgot how to handle double teams leading to turnovers and missed a big late free throw before falling in overtime to the Houston Rockets .There were bright sides for Denver though as Aaron Brooks and Quincy Miller had great games and Evan Fournier and Kenneth Faried had great second halves.

Grades are below the jump.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 103-San Antonio Spurs 108

The Nuggets tried. Oh man did they try. But ultimately putting yourself down by 19 points against the defending Western Conference champs and current best team in the NBA is a bad idea and Denver fell just short of completing their comeback by falling 108-103 and were officially eliminated from the playoffs.

Please leave your thoughts on the grades in the comments below.

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Roundball Roundup: Part III – Faried’s blossoming, Arthur’s bombing, and Denver’s pre-preseason

Faried’s blossoming post game:

Matt had a great write-up on Faried’s improvements but I thought it was worth reiterating it a bit here. Faried began the year a player adrift. The GM who coveted him when so many others had passed and the coach whose up and down offensive style seemed designed to maximize his athletic ability while minimizing his half court deficiencies were both gone. Trade rumors swirled around him and Brian Shaw seemed dead set on forcing him to go to work on offense with his back to the basket. Faried’s subsequent failures started costing him minutes.

And yet, something weird happened. Despite what seemed like irrevocable differences between play style and offensive capability between player and coach, Faried did the thing that Brian Shaw was always purported to be able to do to players, one of the core reasons he was hired. Faried got better.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 118-Detroit Pistons 109

Thanks to 27 and 16 from Aaron Brooks (I know I’m confused too) the Nuggets used a second half rally following the ejection of Josh Smith to beat the Pistons 118-109. The Nuggets also got contributions from Randy Foye and Kenneth Faried on their way to the victory.

Grades are below the jump.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 110 -Los Angeles Clippers 100

In a sloppy, miss filled, physical game the Nuggets outlasted the Clippers 110-100. Denver got big performances late from Ty Lawson, Randy Foye and JJ Hickson to end the Clippers 11 game winning streak.

Grades are below the jump.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 111-Miami Heat 107

In the absolute weirdest game the Nuggets have played all year they rode 18 points from Darrell Arthur, 24 from Kenneth Faried and 14 from Evan Fournier to defeat the defending champion Heat 111-107.

Grades are below the jump.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 98-Charlotte Bobcats 105

Thanks to the Nuggets complete inability to defend good players the Bobcats led for most of the contest and defeated the Nuggets 105-98. Al Jefferson dominated anyone the Nuggets tried to throw at him while Gary Neal and Kemba Walker took turns killing the Nuggets when Jefferson needed a blow.

Grades are below the jump.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 115 Dallas Mavericks 110

The Nuggets snapped a six-game slide with a 115-110 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Pepsi Center. Outside of a poor second half in which Denver almost squandered the comfortable lead they held all night, the Nuggets delivered their best overall effort in a while.
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